GONZALES, La. — The LSU AgCenter’s 69th annual Livestock Show will have a new home this year as the Feb. 7-14 events move to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

The move was necessitated by the LSU master plan, which calls for demolition of a portion of the livestock barns on campus in Baton Rouge to make way for an emerging technology center and improved traffic flow into the campus.

But officials say there are a number of advantages to the new facilities — and that many things won’t change despite the new location.

"Although moving to new facilities this year marks a big change for our livestock show, most of the things you’ll see at the show will remain the same," said LSU AgCenter Chancellor William B. "Bill" Richardson. "Better yet, the new facilities have a lot of advantages, such as less traffic congestion, more available parking and greatly increased space for motor homes.

"I believe everyone will be pleased with the quality of these facilities — especially the young people who gain the most from the experience."

The Lamar Dixon Expo Center began last year to host the South Central District Livestock Show that is one of the preliminaries to the state livestock show. Now it also will be home to the state show, which brings approximately 4,000 4-H and FFA youth from across Louisiana to the area.

With those youngsters come about 5,000 to 6,000 animals and the hopes that each can be named the state champion in its category.

"We call this annual event a livestock show, but the impressive array of livestock is just a small part of its purpose," Richardson said. "The show really is about the youth — as well as the parents, teachers, volunteer leaders, 4-H agents and FFA advisers who have worked with them to help them develop their full potential."

The youth participating in this state livestock show already will have competed in parish and district shows across the state. Judges at the LSU AgCenter Livestock Show determine state champions in various breeds of beef and dairy cattle, goats, hogs, poultry and sheep.

In addition, six young people will be selected to receive Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards in a competition based on their knowledge of livestock. These annual awards were made possible by a $60,000 endowment donated in 1998 by Gerry Lane Enterprises of Baton Rouge.

This year’s show is dedicated to Mansel and Pearl Slaughter of Baker — who have for many years been dedicated supporters of the LSU AgCenter, particularly when it comes to youth livestock shows.

"Although we are making the transition to new facilities this year, we know this still will be an exciting time for the young people who participate," LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil said.

During this year of transition, no bids were received from a rodeo producer. As a result, there will not be a rodeo conducted in connection with the livestock show this year, but a variety of other activities will be available at Lamar Dixon during the show.

In addition, the traditional 4-H Mini Farm on campus this year will be replaced by a larger event known as AgMagic. That event will fill the John M. Parker Agricultural Coliseum with a variety of educational programs geared toward school groups April 20-29 — and a day for the public on April 24.