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Michigan 4-H Guidance for Working with Fair Partners in 2021

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February 25, 2021 - Author:

Background

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H staff are working diligently to chart a path toward resuming in-person programming when it is safe to do so during the current public health crisis. Though it is premature to cite a specific date, no one is more eager than our own staff to resume events, club meetings, competitions and fairs. Using guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the university, as well as the most current science available, we will modify all MSU Extension programming to adhere to public health standards at the federal, state and local levels. The first face-to-face interactions will likely be outside but as a statewide organization, we fully recognize there will be a variety of scenarios to work through with our partners as we begin to resume our in-person activities.

At the same time, MSU Extension is committed to bringing high-quality virtual programming to residents and communities. These virtual spaces remain great opportunities to keep 4-H’ers connected and help other young people engage in MSU Extension programming. We encourage 4-H’ers and clubs to continue meeting via Zoom and engage in the many virtual educational programs offered by 4-H. For more information on virtual programs and resources or help setting up 4-H club meetings, contact your 4-H program coordinator or visit MSU Extension Remote Learning and Resources web page.

While we are preparing to support face-to-face fairs, we are also ready to support virtual and hybrid versions. The following scenarios are examples of how we will work with fair management needs for 2021.

Scenario 1: Both MSU Extension and fair leadership are prepared to offer in-person activities

To ensure that public health concerns are addressed, local MSU Extension and fair leadership must stay in close contact with the local health department to ensure that all federal, state and local health department protocols are followed.

  • Fair and local Extension leadership must be in communication with the local health department and adhere to any local restrictions or limitations.
    • These limitations may be, but are not limited to: fewer visitors, social distancing and smaller animal class sizes.
      • Animal project superintendents should be prepared to limit the number of people in the arena, show and housing area for all projects, including limiting parents, volunteers and helpers to whatever number is necessary to keep both exhibitors and animals safe.
      • For still exhibits, other accommodations may include longer drop-off times, adhering to individually scheduled interview times and eliminating display duties for clubs and/or individuals.

Other considerations for this scenario include, but are not limited to:

  • Review county partnership agreements and the animal health safety plan to ensure all responsibilities and contact information is current.
  • The 4-H Virtual Showcase and Auction platform can be used for parts of this fair experience to help lessen exposure to exhibitors, buyers, visitors and others.
    • MSU Extension will pay the $500 fee for FairEntry in 2021.
    • Potential auction buyers and donors can still be contacted directly by 4-H staff and volunteers, or donor information can be shared with the fair as long as donors provide written consent.
  • The 4-H American Income Life insurance policy will cover 4-H youth and volunteers who are participating in fairs that choose this scenario provided they offer 4-H classes and programming.
  • As always, money raised in the name of 4-H must only be used to support 4-H youth and 4-H programs.
    • Fairs can support 4-H activities and likewise 4-H can offer fundraisers to support fair activities if earmarked for that purpose.
  • In the event of an animal health issue (including disease outbreaks), fair managers should turn to their Fair Animal Health Plan. It is always good practice to make sure this document is easily accessible and up-to-date.
    • MSU Extension biosecurity and animal health professionals are available to assist when necessary. Information about accessing those services will be available at a later date.

Scenario 2: Fairs are operating with modifications but MSU Extension is not yet able to meet face-to-face

Fair managers may use the 4-H Virtual Showcase and Auction platform in both virtual and hybrid situations as long as they continue to follow all appropriate federal, state and local health department guidelines.

  • MSU Extension will pay the $500 fee for FairEntry in 2021.
  • Potential auction buyers and donors can still be contacted directly by 4-H staff and volunteers, or donor information can be shared with the fair as long as donors provide written consent.

The 4-H name and emblem can be used for virtual 4-H sponsored activities. 4-H rules and expectations apply.

  • Fair sponsored activities may use 4-H rules, or they may establish their own rules.
  • 4-H can be used in the name of a fair if it has been previously documented as part of the fair’s identity. However, 4-H may not be used in youth shows and classes, and 4-H membership cannot be a requirement for participation.
  • Permanent signage that includes the 4-H name and emblem on the fairgrounds may stay without alteration (e.g. they do not need to be removed or covered). Temporary signage carrying the 4-H emblem that is only installed for fair purposes must not be used by fair management. However, individual 4-H members and clubs may use temporary 4-H signage.

Fair books that are not yet printed should add the following information: “As of <DATE>, the public health crisis precludes MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H professionals from participating in in-person activities. If this continues, fair leadership may change all 4-H divisions to open youth divisions.”

  • Fairs may choose the date at which they will make this decision. For example, some fairs may choose to pivot classes to open division on the registration deadline, others may wait until the first day of the fair.
  • Michigan 4-H youth and MSU Extension volunteers (those that have been through the volunteer selection process, VSP) must adhere to the Codes of Conduct and follow 4-H rules. In this scenario, MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H youth and volunteers cannot participate in face-to-face activities.
  • The 4-H American Income Life insurance policy covers 4-H youth and volunteers who are participating in a 4-H sponsored event (ie. virtual showcase and other non face-to-face events). 4-H members participating in a youth division open show are not covered by this policy.
  • If an individual chooses to volunteer at an in-person fair, they can only participate as a fair volunteer and not as an MSU Extension volunteer. Fair volunteers must follow the fair’s rules and be covered by fair policies. (Note that in this scenario fair volunteers are not covered by MSU Extension’s insurance policies.)

If 4-H collects data from youth enrolling in 4-H class at the fair and then the class is offered as a youth class instead of a 4-H class, 4-H staff may share the specific enrollment data with the fair as long as the individuals provide written consent.

4-H staff and volunteers can help communicate in-person fair activities to their 4-H audiences.

4-H clubs may not host booths or other activities during the fair.

Fair leadership may organize youth exhibits at their discretion.

Agreements between the county fair and county MSU Extension office can be worked out for the success of both entities in regards to equipment and supplies. Agreements can include use, storage and maintenance of equipment.

MSU Extension and local fairs partner in a variety of ways, but in general, 4-H pays for 4-H-sponsored activities, and fairs pay for fair-sponsored activities.

  • Fairs can support 4-H activities and likewise 4-H can offer fundraisers to support fair activities if earmarked for that purpose.
  • 4-H ribbons and awards already purchased can be used at a 2021 fair.
  • Money raised previously in the name of 4-H and identified for ribbons and awards can be used for the 2021 fair.
  • New fundraising activities in the name of 4-H should not be initiated for events that are not-4-H-sponsored activities.

In the event of an animal health issue (including disease outbreaks), fair managers should turn to their Fair Animal Health Plan. It is always good practice to make sure this document is easily accessible and up-to-date.

  • Local 4-H staff can not be the lead on crisis management for non-4-H sponsored events. However MSU Extension is dedicated to protecting animal and human health.
  • MSU Extension biosecurity and animal health professionals are available to assist when necessary. Information about accessing those services will be available at a later date.

Scenario 3: MSU Extension has resumed face-to-face programming, but the local fair board has decided not to hold a traditional in-person fair

Fairs may consider partnering with MSU Extension to host youth events and activities by providing:

  • Use of grounds/facilities for youth events/shows or show-and-goes
  • Use of equipment that the fair owns
  • Insurance coverage
    • The 4-H American Income Life insurance policy covers 4-H youth and VSP-approved volunteers who are participating in a 4-H sponsored event.
  • Use of fair name and graphics
  • Expense of electricity, water, etc.
  • Premiums
  • Ribbons and awards
  • Media, web presence, social media, stakeholders, sponsor lists and communication channels
  • Their Fair Animal Health Plan. 4-H staff will utilize the fair emergency management plan for their response and call upon the MSU Extension fair biosecurity and animal team to assist when necessary.

Scenario 4: Neither MSU Extension nor fairs are yet offering face-to-face events and activities

To ensure that public health concerns are addressed, local MSU Extension and fair leadership must stay in close contact with the local health department to ensure that all federal, state and local health department protocols are followed.

  • Both groups should maintain open communication and discuss roles and responsibilities.
  • Review the county partnership agreements and make adjustments based on virtual setting.

The 4-H Virtual Showcase and Auction platform is available for a virtual event.

  • MSU Extension will pay the $500 fee for FairEntry in 2021.
  • The 4-H name and emblem can be used for 4-H sponsored activities. All 4-H rules and expectations apply.

We partner in a variety of ways, but in general, 4-H pays for 4-H-sponsored activities, and fairs pay for fair sponsored activities.

  • Dollars raised in the name of 4-H must only be used to support 4-H youth and 4-H programs.
  • Fairs can support 4-H activities and likewise 4-H can offer fundraisers to support fair activities if earmarked for that purpose.

Prefair Activity Guidelines

Until the public health crisis has lessened to a point where MSU Extension is meeting face-to-face, approval will be required for any in-person prefair activities that necessitate the presence of Michigan 4-H staff, volunteers or youth. Fairs should work with their local MSU Extension staff to submit a proposal outlining details of the proposed in-person prefair activity, including why in-person is needed and describing how the following requirements will be met.

  • Events must be outdoors (preferable) or in well-ventilated buildings with all doors and windows open.
    • Indoor activities only permitted if the building is well ventilated and has open air flow.
  • Attendance and congregation at the event will be based on the minimum number of people needed to keep
    humans and animals safe.
  • The MSU Community Compact must be followed regardless of where the activity takes place.
    • Additional considerations will be granted that involve animals to ensure both human and animal
      safety. Examples would include animal weighing and tagging.

Weighing and Tagging

Fairs should work with their local MSU Extension staff to submit a proposal outlining details of the proposed weighing and/or tagging activity, including why in-person is needed and describing how the requirements listed above will be met.

Staff must identify a centralized weigh-in/tagging location(s). Special attention should be given to prevent people from congregating before, during and after the activity; participants must leave the location immediately after weighing their project(s).

Recommendations from the State of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) must be followed, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for participants at weigh-in locations.

  • Possible centralized locations include:
    • Local stockyards
    • Fairgrounds
    • Private farm
    • Other locations with empty, suitable animal pens and scales

Staff members, superintendents and/or volunteers may request the option of bringing portable scales to participant locations in cases where centralized locations aren’t available or this has been the standard past practice.

The following are minimum guidelines. If local regulatory guidance requires stricter protocols, they must be followed.

  • Location criteria
    • When possible weighing and/or tagging should take place outdoors.
    • If animal confinement and/or scale options do not accommodate outdoor options, then open-air well ventilated facilities (barns, etc.) may be used.
    • Weigh-in/tagging personnel and project participant involvement must be limited to the minimum number of individuals needed to safely and efficiently complete the tasks.
    • Assign weigh-in times to prevent large numbers of people on-site at one time. For example, last names A-L from 8-9 a.m. and M-Z from 9-10 a.m.
  • Requirements for weigh-in location staff/volunteers (includes central and individual locations).
    • Face masks are mandatory and must cover both nose and mouth.
    • Participants must be a minimum of six-foot distance between people from differing households.
      • Limited exceptions to this are allowed only when animal handling makes it imperative.
  • General requirements for weigh-in locations (includes central and individual locations).
    • Handwashing options and/or hand sanitizer must be available.
    • People must immediately leave after weighing their project.
    • People must remain in vehicles unless unloading or loading their project.
  • Transportation to central or individual weigh-in and tagging locations.
    • When possible families/households should transport their own animals to weigh-in locations. If it is necessary for someone else to haul participants’ projects from another household, the people involved should travel in separate vehicles. If it is not possible to travel in separate vehicles, organizers may consider waiving the requirement that all participants be present at the weigh-in.
    • If weigh-ins take place at participant locations versus a central location, then only same household members should travel together to those locations. Only necessary personnel to complete the
      process safely and efficiently should travel to weigh-in sites.
    • Insurance needs for the weigh-in and tagging locations for participants, volunteers or family members, or for animals that may die or become injured 4-H youth enrolled in 4-H Online.
      • Approved 4-H volunteers participating in a 4-H sponsored activity are covered by the supplemental accident insurance policy through American Income Life Insurance. Weigh-ins for 4-H shows/fairs are considered a 4-H sponsored activity.
      • As a 4-H sponsored event, a special event policy could also be taken out with American Income Life that would cover all attendees. MSU Extension staff need to complete a special risk division activity report form before the event.
      • Animal injuries/deaths are not covered by American Income Life. A supplemental policy should be sought locally if committees or councils do not already budget for this potential expense.

Additional Questions

For more information, contact your local 4-H program coordinator or

Jake DeDecker
State Leader, Michigan 4-H Youth Development
Associate Director, Children & Youth Institute
dedecke4@msu.edu

Patrick Cudney
MSU Extension Acting Director
msuedir@msu.edu

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Tags: 4-h, msu extension, virtual showcase

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