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COLUMBUS — The 30th edition of the Ohio Beef Expo drew another large crowd of cattlemen and cattlewomen to the Ohio Expo Center March 17-19.
In addition to the breed shows, educational events and youth contests, this year’s event honored the past and the present during a special recognition ceremony March 18, prior to the start of the breed sales.
Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels recalled visiting the first expo with his father, in 1988, and said the event has continued to grow — as a result of good leadership and also Ohio’s growing cattle industry.
“It’s been a great tradition and it has done an awful lot for the cattle industry here in the state of Ohio,” Daniels said.
He gave a quick overview of Ohio’s cattle numbers, which includes 16,900 farms, 1.25 million cattle and calves, valued at about a $145 billion.
Daniels said exports of Ohio cattle also remain strong, including overseas, “because they want the type of genetics that we’re producing here in the state of Ohio.”
The ceremony recognized this year’s co-expo chairs, Pam Haley and J.L. Draganic, as well as Ohio Expo Commission Manager Virgil Strickler, Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite and Ohio Rep. Brian Hill.
Since the beginning
The 30-year cattle exhibitors included Dr. Earl and Cynthia Arnholt, Medina County; Byland Shorthorns, Ashland County; Fawley Farms, Highland County; Maple Valley Farm, Highland County; and Rains Angus, of Pennsylvania.
The 30-year trade show exhibitors included ADM Animal Nutrition, COBA/Select Sires, Genex Cooperative, Ohio’s Country Journal, Pfizer/Zoetis, Purina Animal Nutrition, and White’s Show Supply.
Although history was a major theme throughout the weekend, with many historic photos and stories of the past — this year’s Expo was tailored toward the current and future needs of cattle producers.
One of those needs is choosing a facility. During a talk on the “Top 6 ways to be successful and profitable with cattle,” experts from Summit Livestock Facilities talked about the benefits of keeping cattle indoors — in a good facility.
One benefit is improved feed efficiency, but producers need to remember that cattle kept indoors may also have different nutritional needs.
“When you move your cows indoors, something happens. They (cattle) spend a lot less energy walking around looking for something to eat, so you’ve got to limit the feed to make sure that you don’t over-condition the cows,” said Rich Hines, of Summit Livestock Facilities.
Hines said a facility needs to incorporate ample space per animal, fresh air and access to sunlight. Compared to keeping cattle outdoors, he said the overall benefits of a good indoor facility can add hundreds of dollars to the value of each animal.
Sam Odom, also of Summit Livestock, said another big advantage is manure management. Because indoor facilities contain the manure, there’s less environmental and regulatory risk, and the producer can also choose where, when and how the manure is to be applied.
Odom said that while a new facility can be costly up front, producers need to think about the benefits over a period of years, which usually pay for the initial investment.
For the cattle exhibitors, Sullivan Supply hosted a fitting and grooming demonstration called “Stock Show University.”
Colby Taber, assistant dean, walked a large group of youth exhibitors and their parents through the show-day prep, with a live demonstration. The first thing is blowing out any dirt and dust that may be in the hair, and making sure that the hair and hide are kept hydrated and conditioned.
He said one of the biggest mistakes is using a soap such as a household dish cleaner, which tends to dry out the hide and may result in flakiness. He recommends using a volumizing shampoo, or a product that hydrates the animal’s coat.
Taber said it’s a good idea to clip your show animal four or five days before the show, and do a final clipping closer to the show. This allows for more of a rough first cut, and allows you to trim and finesse any hair that may grow out during the final few days.
He said it’s also important to trim the animal according to its gender. Show steers generally are trimmed in a way that reveals more bone and substance, while heifers should be trimmed so that joints are smooth and clean, with legs and hocks trimmed down to reveal more of a refine and feminine look.
One exhibitor asked how to know when the blades need sharpened. Taber said a good indicator is when the trimmer seems to be dragging through unglued hair.
A separate educational event was held by Weaver Leather, which was part of the junior show welcoming party. Representatives from the company talked about their show supplies, and also the character traits of being a successful exhibitor.
Marlene Eick, co-owner of Herdmark Media, led a group of several hundred junior exhibitors in a board-game designed to demonstrate the importance of good character.
The game included special attention to Weaver Leather show principles, including patience, attitude, influence, motivation, integrity, flexibility, honesty, determination and focus.
Eick talked about the different challenges livestock exhibitors face, and how your approach to these challenges can set you back, or lead you to success.
She challenged exhibitors to define “what you want to do, and what you need to do to get there.”
She said livestock exhibitors are developing leadership and character traits that not only help in the show ring, but also across life.