By Matt Reese
The 95th Anniversary of the Annual Ohio Fair Managers Association Convention themed “Coming Together” was held Jan. 2 though 5 and welcomed over 3,400 attendees.
Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo caught up with State Veterinarian Tony Forshey at the event to get an update on some changes for fairs and exhibitors in 2020.
“There are a couple of new rules for the sheep and goats. Fair boards will have to have an owner/hauler statement that goes with those terminal animals going straight to slaughter. We use the county fair number and the date to get those numbers assigned. That is the fair board’s responsibility and not the exhibitors,” Forshey said. “Paylean is going to be a big one for pig exhibitors this year. With the whole issue with China and shipping pork, they do not want any ractopamine, or Paylean. That will be a voluntary thing these kids will have to do and it is really going to put the onus on the buyers. The people buying these pigs and sending them to slaughter are going to have to sign an affidavit saying these pigs have not been fed Paylean and that is going to cause problems for the buyers and the packers. The packers are going to demand that there is no Paylean being fed to those pigs. Exhibitors are just going to have to not feed Paylean and that will be a problem for a lot of people.”
Swine influenza continues to be a concern for fairs headed into 2020.
“We always have the threat of swine influenza. That disease we used to think about in the spring and fall and winter, but it is a year-round disease now,” Forshey said. “We have pretty much proven that they need to get those pigs off the fairgrounds in 72 hours. Any time over that you run the risk of a break in influenza.”
Minyo also talked with Lora Current, from Champaign County, who served as the 2019 Ohio Fairs’ Queen.
“I attended a total of 48 county fairs in 2019. My favorite, of course, was Champaign County, but I am a little biased,” Current said. “There was something special at every county fair and being able to go there and ask what they found special and wanted to highlight to me was wonderful.”
Current presided over the selection of the 2020 Ohio Fairs’ Queen, Mackenzie Hoog from Montgomery County. In addition, attendees at the OFMA Convention heard from professional organizer Lori Firsdon who talked about handling paperwork in her “Piles to files” presentation, and Michale Bradley from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions talking about how to “Create Disney magic and big fun at any fair” and discussion of “The Ten Commandments of strategic planning for fairs – Managing change and creating a success story.” OFMA attendees also heard from mother-daughter duo Tracy Smith and Kayla Grammer about handling challenges with addiction.