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Little International History

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What is Little International?

Little International, or "Little I", is a two-day agricultural exposition planned, organized, and implemented by students at South Dakota State University for the benefit of high school and college students. Little International is considered the largest student-run two-day agricultural exposition in the country. The exposition provides 4-H, FFA, and collegiate students with an opportunity to compete in judging contests, showmanship competitions, and fitting challenges.


Little International serves both high school and college students alike. The exposition provides a fun and competitive opportunity for students to develop and refine skills essential for lifelong success in agriculture. Through Little International, students can utilize the two day event, not just as an opportunity to improve their showmanship, fitting, or judging skills, but also to develop time management skills, responsibility, hard work and personal pride—not to mention the networking possibilities and the fun had by all involved with Little International.

History of Little International

Little International has been presented every year since 1921 with only four exceptions. In 1926, it was canceled due to the Scarlet Fever epidemic, in 1944–1945 it was canceled because of World War II, and in 2020 it was canceled due to COVID-19 Pandemic. The first Little "I" was patterned after the Chicago International Livestock Exposition and was held on campus in what is now the Agricultural Heritage Museum. In 1952, Little International was moved to what is now called the Intramural Building (also known as The Barn). In 1977 it was moved to where it is held today, the Animal Science Arena. During the week prior to Little International, the student staff prepares the Arena for the exposition. This includes erecting the famous red barn and white fence, adding bleachers, and dying the wood chips green for the show ring. Also, each member of the staff is responsible for ensuring that the specific task of the committee they sit on is accomplished, whether that task is livestock judging or the event schedule.