GALLIPOLIS — As 4-H exhibitors return to the fairgrounds this year, livestock and project numbers are down overall though spirits remain high.
Tentative livestock numbers for this year’s fair, as provided by the OSU Extension Office in Gallia County, are as follows:
Market Beef – 50, with 46 exhibitors (down from last year’s 58 exhibitors)
Market Hogs – 229, with 144 exhibitors (down from last year’s 246 exhibitors)
Market Lambs – 71, with 44 exhibitors (down from last year’s 60 exhibitors)
Market Goats – 54, with 40 exhibitors (down from last year’s 47 exhibitors)
According to Extension Educator Tracy Winters, other projects are also down overall – this year there are 868 projects, last year there were 1,620.
Obviously, COVID-19 was a factor, with the pandemic even closing the OSU Extension office in March. The 4-H clubs were forced to meet online which presented its own set of challenges concerning projects and access to advisors and supplies. In terms of livestock, Winters said some families were concerned about taking a “gamble” to invest in the animals and then be unable to sell them at market.
Add in the additional pressures of integrating virtual learning during the end of the school year and it’s understandable, there was little time, and resources, to finish 4-H projects.
For those who took on the challenge of a livestock project, both the shows and sale will be the culmination of months (if not longer) of hard work.
Winters said the fair has secured butcher, R & C Packing which is willing to take every animal that goes through the sale, if the buyers choose to send them to butcher. Producers Livestock Sales will be handling the resale animals.
“With meat prices being high and butcher slots being very hard to get, we are hoping this might help encourage individuals who want freezer meat to come out and support the kids,” Winters said via email to the Tribune.
For those wanting to stay updated on 4-H and livestock results, visit the OSU Extension Gallia County Facebook page during fair week.
Today (Saturday), the Gallia County Jr. Fair Breeding Shows will return to the fairgrounds. All animals much check in at 5 p.m., with the breeding goat show starting at 6 p.m., followed immediately by the breeding sheep show, then the breeding swine show. There will be a short, five-minute intermission between shows. Families are encouraged to social distance and wear masks.
Also tonight, the Livestock Queen crowning at 5:30 p.m. in the show ring.
All events are subject to change. Please check in with Gallia County OSU Extension for more information at 740-446-7007.
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Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.