Nearly 1,300 beef cattle of various breeds and colors decorated the fairgrounds, with cattle and bull semen being bought, sold and exhibited throughout the day.
At noon, officials with the Ohio Expo Center and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association held a brief ceremony to celebrate the event’s 25th year.
Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels talked about the importance of the beef and livestock industry to Ohio and other parts of the world. Himself a long-time beef farmer, he said Ohio has increased its livestock exports to other countries from 7,000 head in 2010, to 25,800 head last year.
“The livestock business in the state of Ohio is growing,” he said, and it’s really important “to make sure that you’ve got good market opportunities.”
Daniels and his father managed a beef operation in Greenfield, Ohio. He told the crowd his family has been in farming the past 150-200 years.
“My time spent on the farm, my time spent raising cattle was probably some of the best time of my life, and I know that each one of you out there feel the exact same way,” he said.
Ribbons were presented to trade show and cattle exhibitors who have been with the Beef Expo all 25 years.
Jim Rentz, first-ever chairman of the expo, said it has evolved into much more than he had imagined.
“It has been a good income maker over the years, but it has gotten to be the largest beef cattle event in the state,” he said, with educational opportunities, junior shows and youth shows and events for all ages.
Rentz, a long-time Angus breeder and member of the Ohio Angus Association board, said he’s most pleased with the expo’s growth — not only in Ohio but with producers across the country.
“The fact that we’ve been able to build and maintain a reputation of this magnitude is very rewarding to me and to all of the participants,” he said. “It’s not a one-man show.”
Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, said normal attendance is about 30,000. And with temperatures near 80 this weekend, she felt confident that number will be met or exceeded.
Others recognized at the ceremony included Ohio Expo Center General Manager Virgil Strickler, Ohio Beef Expo Chairman and OCA President Sam Sutherly, Ohio Beef Expo Vice Chairman Bill Sexten, and 1988 OCA President Henry Bergfeld.
The expo continues through Sunday, March 18 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. Parking is $5 per vehicle and there is no event fee.
Check back for more coverage and names of the 25-year exhibitor awards.