Ohio Beef Expo has a family focus

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Ohio Beef Expo
New this year at the Ohio Beef Expo a Beef Quality Assurance Certification program will be available for adults following the online feeder cattle board sale March 16. A Red Angus sale has also been added to the breed sales March 17. (Farm and Dairy file photo)

COLUMBUS — It takes a lot of hard work to put together an exposition that attracts over 30,000 cattle producers, junior showmen and beef industry representatives each year.

Co-chairs J.L. Draganic, of Fayette County, and Pam Haley, of Wayne County, spend a lot of time planning the Ohio Beef Expo, making sure there is something for everyone.

This year’s Ohio Beef Expo runs March 16-18 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds and Expo Center.

“A lot of people think the expo is just about show cattle, but it’s not,” said Haley.

While a large part of the expo are the junior shows, breed shows and sales, the expo also features a large trade show and educational opportunities for commercial and seedstock producers, she added.

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“We give people the opportunity to talk to folks about other breeds, how they can improve their own breeds and have a good industry across all facets,” she said.

Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, said the signs are looking good for another successful expo this year.

“This year, breed show and sale numbers are up 100 head,” she said, noting they continue to increase each year. The expo will feature 10 breeds and six sales, including the addition of the Red Angus sale.

What’s new?

Haley is pumped to have the first Red Angus sale at this year’s expo.

“It’s the first time they have joined us and have enough cattle to host a sale,” she said. The Red Angus sale will follow the Angus sale, which starts March 17 at 10 a.m.

“We’re excited to have them as part of our group.”

Also new this year, a beef quality assurance program will be offered for adults following the feeder cattle internet board sale March 16.

The expo has always offered three different breakouts for youth to participate in the quality assurance program, but Harsh said the new adult program gives producers “another tool for their toolbox.”

“More industries are requiring proof that producers have this certification,” she said. And having the program at the expo is convenient for the many cattlemen who are already attending the show.

“It takes time to take those (quality assurance) courses online,” said Haley. “It’s nice to have it done in person instead of sitting by your computer for an hour.”

2013 Ohio Beef Expo

The Ohio Beef Expo has something for
everyone from breeders, to commercial
cattlemen, to junior showmen.

Education

A large emphasis is placed on education for youth as well as adults. An educational seminar will take place before the board sale (March 16) that addresses current and future cattle markets.

“With markets being a little more volatile, we want to give our commercial producers more insight into what buyers are really looking for,” said Haley.

The expo will continue to offer fitting demos and judging contests for the youth attending Friday.

Over 400 youth participated in the judging contest last year, a number Draganic hopes will continue to grow, thanks to the adjustments they made to the schedule last year.

“By moving the judging contest to Friday, there was more FFA participation and we’re looking for that to grow,” said Haley.

“It’s great to see the kids go out there and excel, whether it’s in the show ring or during those contests,” said Draganic.

Trade show

Another benefit is having the trade show open for the full three days of the expo.

“When we are putting everyone together in the trade show, we want to make sure it stays focused on what a cattlemen needs,” said Haley.

From seedstock producers, to breeds and showman and everyone in between, Haley said the goal is for producers to spend a day or two learning some new tips to help improve their herds.

“We’re a small sector, but we’re a tight-knit group,” said Draganic. “You get to see every aspect of the (Ohio beef) industry there in one spot.”

And Ohio Cattlemen’s Association will be right there in the center of it all, where members can congregate and share what’s on their mind with OCA staff and volunteers and discuss industry hot topics with board members.

2012 Ohio Beef Expo
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

Social

Haley, Draganic and Harsh all agree, one of the best parts of the expo is connecting with the people in the industry.

“My favorite part is catching up with friends I may only get to see once a year at the expo,” said Draganic.

“Getting together with breeders around the state, talking about each other’s operations and working with the people there makes the week great,” said Haley.

“We see the expo being a family weekend,” Harsh said. Whether producers are looking for seedstock or a show heifer or a bull for their cow-calf operation, they can pick up some tips for themselves and have activities for their children as well.

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Catie Noyes lives in Ashland County and earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture communications from The Ohio State University. She enjoys photography, softball and sharing stories about agriculture. Formerly a reporter for the Farm and Dairy, Catie is now pursuing her master's degree in education.

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