by Scout Van Cise and Kassie Boyd, editor-in-chief and news editor
UPDATE: Austin Brown received his Junior Fair Person of the Year Award in Hershey on Jan. 20. The following photos are from the event (contributed photos):
“My life is usually strictly farm stuff, that’s just kind of the way it works,” said Austin Brown, graduate of Saegertown High School class of 2017. Brown was recently recognized as the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs (PSACF) Junior Fair Person of the Year.
Pennsylvania is divided into four different zones: northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. Chairpeople from each zone decide from a number of applicants who they will nominate for the state award. From the four nominees, one is chosen to represent Pennsylvania in Hershey on January 20.
Brown was nominated by the PSACF board after they reviewed a resume Brown sent to the Crawford County Fair Board. “We have criteria,” said Sherman Allen, honorary board member of the CCFB. “Most has to do with fair participation, some community involvement, and fair endorsement,” Allen said. Brown’s resume stood apart. According to Allen, “…his involvement at the fair within the sheep department, and what he does with helping out other exhibitors to help them perform at their best” secured him the nomination.
Brown has been working at the fair since he was three years old, helping his father set up sheep pens. Brown’s father, Robert Brown, is the sheep chairman of the Crawford County Fair. While not official, Brown has assumed the duties of assistant sheep chairman alongside his father. He sets up sheep pens, repairs things that need fixed, answers questions about where animals should go, shears lambs, and helps weigh animals for 4-H projects. “It [fair week] is the most important thing I do. It’s an opportunity to work with the community,” Brown said.
Brown majors in animal science at Penn State. He plans to continue with his major, although he is not sure which route he wants to take after graduation. “At school, I see a lot of options,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what my ultimate goal is.”
This past summer, Brown and his agricultural ethics class travelled to a conference in Harrisburg. He met with politicians and other important agricultural figures. “Agriculture is a very true pursuit. We talked with politicians who were arguing over whose policies were the best,” Brown said. “I don’t see narcissists with agriculture. They’re all very down to earth. Agriculture is a huge family.”