Despite the cancellation of Farm City Week, the Harrison County Commissioners Court approved on Wednesday a proclamation, declaring March 23-26 as Farm City Week in the county.

County Judge Chad Sims encouraged all to support the other alternatives made in an effort to support in the sale of the nearly 300 livestock and ag-mechanics student projects.

“We certainly encourage the community to turn out and participate online and certainly through the hard luck (list sale) to support our youth,” said Judge Sims, sharing many of the students use money raised from Farm City Week for college.

“I know they put in a lot of time and effort and we’re hoping for a return on their work here,” said Sims.

County Extension Agent Matt Garrett noted that Farm City Week has been a major event in the county for 57 years without any hindrance until now.

They went from first finding an alternate location to host the event after the closure of the City Arena and Convention Center, to canceling altogether after the Centers for Disease Control issued recommendations Sunday on limiting crowds.

“This escalated very rapidly,” said Garrett.

He said in addition to an online auction that was decided at an emergency board meeting on Tuesday, the Harrison County Agri-Business Association board also decided to reach out to donors that usually participate in the annual “hard luck” sale.

“(Tuesday) morning the board had an emergency meeting at 9 a.m., decided to cancel all activities for Farm City Week; however, the board decided that there’s a ‘hard luck’ list (sale) every year that lists the kids from each club community and what their project is if you want to make a donation for that child for that project to keep them from completely taking a loss.

“Those will be mailed out to everyone that’s been on our donors list in the past, in a couple of weeks,” said Garrett.

More information on the online auction and link will be forthcoming soon.

“No animals are actually going to change hands unless there’s an agreement between the buyer and seller,” Garrett explained. “It’s strictly a premium (style sale) to help these kids try to avoid as much loss on these projects as they can.”

Putting things into perspective, Garrett said there’s a total of 297 livestock and ag mechanic projects that were entered throughout the county. He said they hope to have the scholarship presentation in May and continue with the Voice of Agriculture speech contest.

“Hopefully this all blows over,” he said of the COVID-19 pandemic. “But until then we’re doing online and hard luck lists.”

Garrett said Farm City Week is supposed to be a happy, joyous time of the year. Thus, the virus is impacting many. He noted it’s been a domino effect for ag students since the cancellation of the Houston Livestock Show.

“We had ag kids down there and they hadn’t been there 12 hours and had to turn around and go home,” said Garrett.

“So, it is what it is,” he said. “But, we will persevere. It’s a life lesson. It’s a tough lesson, but it can always be worse.”