Little “I” brings surrounding states together

South Dakota State University’s 93rd Little International event gives students and staff the opportunity to connect back to the university’s agricultural roots.

The Little International event is the largest two-day exposition in the nation held April 1-2 in the Animal Science Complex. The staff of about 160 students has been working since October to plan the event. 

About 2,000 FFA members from both Minnesota and South Dakota come to compete and practice their selected career development at events. SDSU students will show and judge different animal classes Friday evening and all day Saturday. 

Little International is open to everyone and gives an opportunity for SDSU students who showed livestock in high school to continue to participate. It also gives students who have never shown or worked with animals before the opportunity to try it for the first time Dalen Zuidema, assistant Little International manager, said.

Kathryn Haeska, sophomore animal science major, has never shown beef cattle before and is using Little International to try something new. 

“I am really excited to see how I and others in the novice beef category do with showing just because we spend so much time together working with our animals. It is really nice to see all of that hard work come together,” Haeska said. 

Besides showing livestock there are other opportunities students can get involved in. One new event this year is the dairy products contest. 

In this event, students can work as teams or individuals to make their own ice cream flavor. The ice cream will then be processed at the SDSU Dairy Plant and examined by a panel of judges. 

“As the university who created cookies and cream and other types of ice cream, I think it will be cool to see what the students can come up with,” Zuidema said. 

Some other events will be meat products, lamb lead and the second year of the goat show. 

“It is easy to see the pride that is seen throughout Little ‘I’ and that makes being there better,” said Addie Rojas, member of the Little International executive board.

Little International will begin April 1 with the high school FFA events in the morning with SDSU shows starting around 7 p.m. in the Animal Science Complex.