SDSU students host nation’s largest student-run livestock exposition |

SDSU students host nation’s largest student-run livestock exposition

SDSU students participate in the swine show at the 2018 Little International.

BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State University’s 96th Little International will be held in the Animal Science Arena on the SDSU campus March 29-30, 2019. Little International is a student organization consisting of 150 staff members serving on 45 committees that collaboratively host the largest student-run livestock exposition across the United States.

“With over 96 years of passion for agriculture, Little “I” has stood as a testimony to SDSU’s rich history in agriculture,” said the 96th Little International Manager Tristin Fliehe.

Over the course of the two days, SDSU’s Little International, also referred to as Little “I,” hosts close to 2,000 FFA and 4-H members that compete in career development events and judging contests ranging from livestock judging and farm business management to floriculture, vet science, dairy products judging and more. Additionally, over 175 SDSU students compete as experienced and novice showmen in showmanship and fitting contests across six different species including beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, swine and horses.

Each year, a theme for the event is chosen by the Little “I” staff with the 2019 theme being “Live to Leave a Legacy.”

“We’ve seen countless students come and go and leave their legacy on Little International,” Fliehe said. “With each new student that gets involved the legacy of the barn grows.”

The Little International leadership and staff are selected each year and are led by an executive team of 16 students consisting of a manager and assistant manager. Serving as faculty advisors are Lora Berg, director of marketing and communications for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, and Keith Underwood, associate professor of animal science.

“Little “I” is really an inspiring event because it brings in students from all different backgrounds and skill sets and allows them to showcase their skills and advocate for the agriculture industry,” Fliehe said.

Each year, the student staff offers tours to visiting high school students through different livestock units on campus. On Friday, March 29, visiting students will have the opportunity to tour SDSU’s Dairy Research and Training Facility and the Davis Dairy Plant.

For visiting alumni, there will be a social held at Lemke’s Bar and Grill in Aurora, S.D. on Friday, March 29 from 9:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Another alumni social will be held on Saturday, March 30 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum on the SDSU campus.

For the full event schedule, show updates, contest results and more, visit or the SDSU Little International page on Facebook.

–SDSU Extension