COLUMBUS — Visitors to the 2010 state fair came away with a better understanding of Ohio agriculture and how its many farms and farmers operate.
Dozens of displays provided live, interactive experiences for attendees to learn the ropes of what farm and rural life is all about.
The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association sponsored the annual livestock birthing display, where veterinarians discussed the birth process as dairy cows and other livestock delivered their offspring into well-prepared pens.
“We want them to get the idea of the care that our animals are agricultural animals are given,” said Ed Biggie, veterinarian with Feeder Creek Veterinary Services of Millersport.
Biggie said the crowd picks up significantly when the animals are delivering. He predicted a particular dairy calf would be born in a couple of hours time, but admitted “they don’t always cooperate.” One cow, for example, gave birth at 5 a.m. — long before the fair’s 9 a.m. start.
Land and living
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation provided a wealth of educational programs for children and adults, as part of its “Land and Living Exhibit.” The display filled the Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort building and featured “agriculture’s link to everyday life.”
Children pedaled their way throughout the “country cruise” atop the seats of peddle tractors. The windy path was created with bales of straw and featured a rural background with signs identifying various farm crops along the way.
Various facts about Ohio agriculture were posted throughout the building, with dozens of staff, volunteers and student ambassadors on hand to answer questions. Promotion Specialist Cara Lawson estimated as many as 350,000 people entered the building, leaving with a better understanding of agriculture.
“Ohio agriculture has a lot of stories to tell so we just try to help consumers understand the relevance of agriculture to their everyday lives,” she said.
The agricultural supplier Algrium presented programs related to seed growth and development, including a sunflower seed planting station and a watershed station. Children learned about the survival needs of a plant — water, light, healthy soil and nutrients.
Nearby, a giant pumpkin weighing more than 600 pounds was carved as a dedication to the state fair and displayed since July 31. An ear of corn about as tall as the ceiling was found near the center of the building, where children fastened in safety harnesses tested their strength by trying to climb to the top.
In the dairy products barn, the ever-popular butter cow and a newly-added Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals NFL tribute impressed crowds of people who were amazed to see the artwork of 2,000 pounds of butter and 392 hours of craftsmanship.
Flat-pannel video screens were mounted above everyone’s head, where they could watch what life is like on an Ohio dairy farm and gain a little more knowledge about the people and work behind dairy farming.
The videos depicted about a dozen Ohio dairy farmers part of the American Dairy Association Mideast video project called Meet Ohio Dairy Farmers.
“It gives folks something to watch while sharing our message,” said Jenny Hubble, vice president of communications for Ohio Dairy Producers Association.