Good Luck to Ohio State Fair Participants

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

July 24, 2019

The 2019 Ohio State Fair will be held from July 24 to August 4, 2019. Over the course of the fair over 100 Highland County youth will be competing at the State Fair.

Last year I made a short video highlighting a few of the Highland County participants I saw competing at the State Fair. I am hoping to create another short video again this year, so if you are competing at the Ohio State Fair on July 24, 25, or 30, send me an email to, let me know what you will be showing and when, and I will try to come see your show and include you in the video. If you will be showing on another day at the State Fair, email me a short video of you showing.

During the rush of spring planting this year, I assisted the Ohio State University Precision Planting Team to create a virtual reality experience for the State Fair. This VR experience highlights the advanced technology used by agricultural producers in the tractor and how farmers are partnering with researchers to improve water quality, sustainability, and efficiency in their farming operations. This VR experience will be shown everyday at the Ohio State Fair this year in the Nationwide Donahey Land + Living Building in the technology exhibit.

So if you will be participating at the Ohio State Fair, stop by the Nationwide Donahey Land + Living Building to explore a variety of agriculture-based career opportunities. Best of luck to all participants and be safe traveling to the fair. For more information about any of the Extension programs, contact the OSU Extension office at 937-393-1918.

Upcoming Events:
Leadership Highland applications will be accepted through July 29, 2019. Applications can be obtained through the Ohio State University Extension, Highland County website or by visiting the office. For more information about the Leadership Highland program, contact Brooke Beam at 937-393-1918.

Germinate International Film Fest will be held on August 16 & 17, 2019. Tickets are available now through the Ohio State University Extension Office. The Germinate International Film Fest has over 70 films and photography exhibits for attendees to view.


Project Judging

Summer 4-H Judging

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 starting at 9:00 a.m. at Hillsboro High School. Judging schedules will be released soon at: development/judging-schedules

State Fair Qualifying Special Interest Judging

For those 4-H members whose projects will be judged at pre-fair judging and would like to compete at State Fair, state fair qualifying judging will be held Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the Extension Office from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Call 937-393-1918 to schedule.

Summer 4-H Awards and Style Review

Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. will be the Summer Judging Awards & Style Review at Southern State Community College in the Patriot Center.

Ohio State Fair; a place to get “meals served by the Ohio farmers who grow it!”

Stan Smith, Fairfield County PA, OSU Extension

The Taste of Ohio Cafe’ offers the opportunity for consumers to meet the farmers that grow their food.

The free market system will ultimately have a significant voice in how our farm animals are managed . . . the bottom line is that our clientele wants to know more about the food we are producing.

Those words were shared in this publication eight years ago by John Grimes as he discussed the 2010 agreement that initiated the creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Little has changed today in that regard, and little is expected to change anytime soon. With the majority of our consuming public two, three, or even four generations removed from the farm, whether we like it or not, public concern for how our food is produced, by whom, and the sustainability of methods we use is the reality of the world we presently live in. As we consider how best to share with consumers our story regarding the daily care and efficient production of livestock and the wholesome nutrition it provides the diet, perhaps one of the best opportunities we have begins next Wednesday with the opening of the Ohio State Fair.

Ohio’s livestock producers, their spouses, 4-H and FFA youth, and livestock industry people, as well as the growing trend of herbal CBD farmers, once again have the opportunity to personally promote their product directly to Ohio’s consumers by simply serving a shift at their respective food stands during the Ohio State Fair. From July 25 through August 5, most of Ohio’s commodity organizations will be set up in the Taste of Ohio Café or in one of the commodity group food stands such as the Buckeye Steak Barn located near the Voinovich Livestock Center.

Over the years, any producer who has ever spent time in one of these food stands might agree a fair – especially the Ohio State Fair – is a unique experience where the most rural and urban segments of our society have the opportunity to interact. As the Ohio State Fair publicity suggests, it offers meals served by the Ohio farmers who raise and grow the food that feeds our world.

It does indeed provide the opportunity for us to promote our product and answer questions the consumer might have about it. If you don’t believe in the value of “promoting your own product,” then spending a few hours in one of these stands serving “Buckeye” ribeyes, “butterfly” pork chops, an Ohio lamb gyro or one of several other Ohio produced entrees might change your mind!

As an example of what can happen at an Ohio commodity food stand during the Ohio State Fair, each year more than 400 volunteers sell over 6 tons of beef through the Steak Barn and the Taste of Ohio Cafe’! Each day of the fair, consumers of these beef products have the unique opportunity to meet the people who actually had a hand in producing the product they’re enjoying.

Years ago, innovative merchandisers such as Colonel Sanders, Bob Evans, and Orvil Reddenbacher discovered the benefit of associating the face of the producer to the product that was being marketed. The same benefits are evident at “commodity” food stands located at places like State and County Fairs. It can only add to consumer confidence in a product when they know producers and their families are willing to “show their face” at the point of consumption.

While it’s evident that many people are repeat customers from years’ past, it’s also obvious there are several customers who may be enjoying a particular entre’ or type of Ohio produced ag commodity for the first time. Afternoons at work in the Ohio State Fair Taste of Ohio Café or Buckeye Steak Barn are certainly an “education” for all involved!

There are opportunities remaining yet this year at the State Fair to participate and begin sharing your story as a producer with your customers. Contact Stephanie Sindel at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association office (614.873.6736 or and ask how you, your family, your county cattleman’s group, 4-H Club, FFA Chapter, breed association, or your neighboring cattlemen can participate.

Be sure and visit the OSU Extension Beef Team on July 30 in the Taste of Ohio Cafe’

And, don’t forget, even if you don’t have a chance to work a shift this year, while you’re visiting you’ll still find the best sandwich on the grounds in the Ohio Cattlemen’s Steak Barn or in their AIR CONDITIONED location in the Taste of Ohio Café. And, if you attend the Fair on Monday, July 30, be sure and stop by and say hello to members of the OSU Extension Beef Team who will be working the second shift beginning at 2:30 in the AIR CONDITIONED Café!