Agriculture and the Allen County Fair go hand in hand. With everything from pigs to demolition trucks to carnival rides, it has something for just about everyone. Leo High School senior Toby Smith is one of the top 4-H achievers at this year’s fair. “I love pigs,” said Toby. “They’re probably my favorite species to show.”
Toby’s love for pigs, sheep, chickens and most everything down on the farm has helped earn him the top achiever title. “We have a point system where whatever class you show or project you get points for that program,” said Toby. He participates in a number of activities including boy scouts and rugby and football at Leo High School, but his passion is farming. “Agriculture is one of the most important things you can have as a society. Processing and making food for people to eat. I think it’s cool.”
4-H stands for head, heart, hands, and health. The goal is to develop young leaders through different learning programs. Toby’s sister is also a 4-H achiever and his little brother is an up-and-comer. Toby’s father is a former 4-H member. “My parents were both 4-H’ers and both of my grandmothers were 4-H leaders in DeKalb County,” said Smith. “So I have a long heritage of 4-H in my family.”
“It’s really rewarding and all five of us family members have been involved in some way,” said Toby’s mother Kim Smith. She is a veterinarian who also sits on the 4-H Board of Directors. “The Allen County Fair really is an exhibition in part with 4-H and it’s a really great opportunity for all our Allen County 4-H’ers to really show what they have done throughout the years. Projects including horse and pony, swine, everything from ceramics, basic crafts to shooting sports.”
Even though the Smith’s are a 4-H family through and through, they go to the fair to do more than show off their animals. “There is so much more to do than 4-H,” said Smith. “We have the carnival with the rides for the kids. We have the demolition derby and so much more. There’s more than just animals at the Allen County Fair. It’s a wide family experience.