SALEM, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Agriculture is investigating how the Jefferson County junior fair grand champion market lamb managed to make it to two other fairs before being slaughtered.
The 137-pound grand champion lamb, raised by Kiersten Harris, sold at the Jefferson County Junior Fair Livestock sale for $10 a pound to DPS Penn.
The state law reads that all grand and reserve champion market animals have to be slaughtered.
After being sold at the fair, it was then resold at the Carrollton Livestock Auction. Wayne Falb, owner of the Carrollton Livestock Auction, said it was announced during the auction that the animal had been grand champion at the Jefferson County Fair and it would need to be slaughtered.
He said the paperwork was signed by the buyer that the lamb would be slaughtered when the purchase was made.
Mark Kalin, a bidder at the auction, said he bought the lamb for $1 a pound.
The ODA is not commenting on the investigation because it is ongoing, however, Kalin, Jefferson County, Stark County and Portage County fairs are discussing the issue.
Kalin told the Farm and Dairy that he is a sheep producer and did purchase the lamb, but “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Kalin said he knew the law requires it to be slaughtered. He said he had a buyer for the meat but couldn’t get the lamb into a processor, so he went ahead and took it with the sheep he showed at the Portage County and Stark County fairs.
Initially, Kalin said he obtained a “permission slip” through the state necessary to have the animal show. However, Farm and Dairy subsequently learned it was a quarantine slip he received after the lamb had been delivered to the Stark County Fair.
He is adamant, however, the animal was not shown at any other fair after leaving the Jefferson County Fair.
“The animal never saw another show ring,” Kalin said.
Kalin said he did have the animal at the fair in the pen with his other sheep.
Jim Tressel, Stark County Fair board president, said he was contacted by the Jefferson County Fair board about the lamb being present at the Stark County Fair.
He said after receiving a digital picture of the animal, he went to the open class sheep barn and found it. He verified the animal by the ear tag from the Jefferson County Fair.
Tressel said the animal was quarantined and did remain at the fair but it never entered a show ring. He added they were never made aware it was a junior fair grand champion until the Jefferson County Fair board contacted him.
Meanwhile, Dave Tomlinson, sheep show manager at the Portage County Fair, confirms the animal never entered the show ring at the Randolph Fair because the fair does not offer a wether market lamb class in the open sheep show.
Ray Hildebrande, Jefferson County Fair president, said neither the seller nor buyer in Jefferson County did anything wrong at the fair livestock sale.
“The child nor the buyer did anything wrong. We want to make sure everyone knows that,” Hildebrande said.
Hildebrande said all of the animals bought by DPS were sent to the Carrollton Livestock Auction and then the money was donated back to the 4-H scholarship fund.
Meanwhile, Kalin said the lamb has since been slaughtered.
The investigation by ODA continues.