NPR

For 4-H Kids, Saying Goodbye To An Animal Can Be The Hardest Lesson

After a year of training, feeding and caring for an animal, kids learn what it takes to raise livestock for food and then let it go. And while it can be tough, it's part of the business of farming.
Not only are kids raising animals and learning the how-tos of vaccinations and record-keeping, 4-H'ers are also being taught how to add up the costs and weigh them against future profits. / The Washington Post / Getty Images

There's nothing like the fair. Visitors can gorge on deep-fried Oreos, hot beef sundaes and heaps of cotton candy. There are rides, craft displays and, of course, barns full of animals that nonfarmers rarely get to see. Yet there's one day of the fair that's bittersweet and, for some, downright heart-wrenching. Auction day is when many 4-H kids must say goodbye after a year of training, feeding and caring for an animal.

Every year there are photos circulating online of crying children on market day. Unlike farmers who often have dozens, if not hundreds, of animals, 4-H

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