DairyPalooza: A vision becomes reality


The vision, the goals, the super human effort came together for everyone at DairyPalooza Northeast held at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.

More than 250 folks traveled to the destination for quality assurance training, dairy related workshops, and just time to share similar interests in the dairy industry. Since the first DairyPalooza in 2011 at Grammer Farm, the event has grown in popularity and credibility, and after the following years at the Wayne County Fairgrounds (thanks to their hospitality), we made a change to Trumbull County. With confidence, these dairy advocates tackled the project with dedication and commitment and guidance from the previous coordinator.


Did you know we even have our own webpage for registrations, resource links, and presenter bios? If not, check out the colorful logo and all the information created by our talented designer with strong roots in 4-H.

Entering the gate, there was a crew to direct parking and provide details on registration. The crowd moved efficiently through the maze of details picking up an armload of free items and a clipboard filled with resources.

As everyone was welcomed to the day’s events, it was an amazing sight to see so many youth and adults sitting in the bleachers prepared for a very busy day. Technology might have taken a back seat Saturday as the emphasis was hands-on training. With a focused emphasis on QA certification during the morning, attendees were given time to work through scenarios, use creative problem solving, and even focus on issues of animal welfare and ethical choices.

As lunch time approached, they had been coached and trained for the dairy 4-H project and attendees had “worked up” quite a physical and mental appetite for healthy food served with “down home hospitality.”


With that renewal time, the business side of QA was being completed as T-shirts were dispensed to all in preparation for the group photo with Buckeye Bessie, the spirited OSU cow that served as a mascot beyond the barnyard. It is no simple task to capture such a moment, but everyone cooperated with enthusiasm.

For the afternoon, presenters came from as far as 250 miles to share their expertise. Each of the three afternoon sessions offered dairy information of current interest. From topics on nutrition utilizing model rumens to AI techniques with preserved reproductive tracts, the light of knowledge was blazing. However, there were also the traditional showmanship sessions and a bit of COWsmetology basics that need to be carefully taught and utilized at fairs and exhibitions. Add some milk marketing details and even dairy feeder sessions, the day gave everyone a chance to select and learn from the finest professionals donating their time to the next generation.


Cloverbuds had their own portion of fun as the beginners were tutored on the basics, and adults could also take advantage of ideas for club meetings and demonstrations.


Also during the day, a cameraman was working behind the scenes conducting interviews and impromptu reactions from all ages. Through a grant with the 4-H Foundation, a movie will be made of DairyPalooza for promotional efforts.

The day concluded with cake and ice cream. There were more free items to draw for, the semen raffle results were announced, and a crafted “one-of-a kind” show box with the DairyPalooza logo etched on the front panel, was won. Making the 200-mile journey home to Mechanicsburg was not as difficult as I thought it could have been. I could not help but reflect on the group of talented volunteers that were left to clean up and put all back together.

I also spent some time thinking about sponsors who donated more than $8,000 to this cause as the radio was playing Queen’s We are the Champions. (Well maybe I imagined that, but I could hear it in my mind.) I could not help but think that together we had really done something spectacular.

Do we have some things to improve and make better? You betcha. That goes with 4-H. It all happened because someone acted on a need and the vision became reality. As I have said before, I love it when a plan comes together.

Oh wait just a minute, I cannot forget that we now have DairyPalooza West and it is May 9 at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds. Guess I will just have to unload the car from May 2 and reload again for May 9.


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Bonnie Ayars is a dairy program specialist at Ohio State University, coordinating all state 4-H dairy programs and coaching the OSU collegiate and 4-H dairy judging teams. She and her husband also own and operate a Brown Swiss and Guernsey cattle farm. In 1994, Bonnie was named Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.



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