Results of Dairy Skillathon and Dairy Judging Clinics at Ohio State Fair

Mrs. Bonnie Ayars, Dairy Program Specialist, The Ohio State University (top of page)

With the 2007 Ohio State Fair now in the history books, I am pleased to report that all of our 4-H Dairy events were up in numbers. The 4-Hers, advisors, and exhibitors can take pride in this accomplishment! Thank you for your support, and if you have any comments and suggestions for 2008, just phone or email me.  Following is a brief description of each activity.  Click on the links below for more details and photos!

Dairy Skillathon: Even though we held only one skillathon this year, 75 ambitious youth completed all the stations with the expert assistance of our volunteers.  It was also impressive to have Ohio's First Lady, Frances Strickland, visiting and taking part in our event!  Matt Weeman of Wayne County was the Overall Winner.

Dairy Judging Clinics:  Two judging clinics were held. Each had 3 classes and one set of oral reasons. A total of over 70 participated.  In an effort to make this more of a clinic rather than just a contest, Bernie Heisner and John Ayars were on hand to discuss placing classes and also listened to reasons and providing suggestions for improvement. There was excellent discussion with the kids, but we need to find more time for our beginners too!  Look for a Reasons Clinic later this year!

Ohio 4-H Dairy Judging Teams: Seven 4-H members traveled all over the state from August 23-25 in conjunction with Michigan 4-Hers.  They placed 23 classes and gave 7 sets of reasons.  It was a test of endurance, but everyone improved despite the heat, flooding, tornadoes, and very long days.  Look for more updates on the first and second teams that will be out representing us this fall!

OSU Collegiate Dairy Judging Team: These students put their lives on hold to manage the Ohio State Fair milking parlor.  From 4:30 a.m. to at least 9:00 p.m., the eight team members did their very best to fulfill an important commitment as well as provide a service to exhibitors. They gave up some of their summer income to prove their interest in dairy judging.  Three of the students were even taking summer classes.  Some days, the parlor barely had time to close down and after the 50th Holstein Futurity, they were still washing the line at midnight.  They should be commended for the tremendous effort put forth to help earn some income for their fall judging experiences.  It was particularly pleasing to have cards and letters of appreciation sent to them after the fair.  Also the "milk a cow" event continues to draw in hundreds of fair goers.  With the help of Dr. Eastridge and some additional students, the judging kids also took care of the animals for this and shared their expertise with all those who couldn't wait to take a turn.  As another outreach effort to consumers, facts and information from, were posted on the parlor windows.  It is always interesting to note the kinds of questions that consumers have about dairying and this gave the aspiring judges an opportunity to become better at reasoning.

For all of the above activities, there are photos available if anyone would like to use them in publications: A new bulletin board outside of my office also helps to tell the story of our summer activities.