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Serving: IA
girl tries “I Milked A Cow” display at Iowa state fair
STATE FAIR FAVORITES: The “I Milked A Cow” display is one of the popular hands-on activities, giving fairgoers a chance to learn about dairy farming, cows and milking.

New ag exhibits at Iowa State Fair

You can’t miss agricultural education at the 2019 Iowa State Fair.

By Sydney Zehnder

The 2019 Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18, will feature new agricultural education programs, showcasing all species of livestock.

The fair has a rich heritage in agriculture, with the first fair being held in 1854. The first fair was intended to motivate farmers to advance their practices by introducing agricultural competitions. Now, 165 years later, the Iowa State Fair is one of the largest ag expositions in the country. 

Three new programs will be held at the 2019 fair to highlight Iowa agriculture: 

Have You Herd? Live animal demonstrations will take place Aug. 8-17 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. outside the sheep barn in the Have You Herd? Tent. These demonstrations are given by 4-H, FFA and open-class livestock exhibitors from across Iowa. 

The presenters applied by filling out an application based on their past experiences showing livestock. While each presentation will be unique to the presenter and their show animal, they all follow a similar outline. 

Each presentation will cover the individual’s history of showing livestock, the benefits of showing livestock and daily livestock routines at home, as well as preparations that take place at the show. 

The demonstrations are approximately 20 minutes long with an additional 10 minutes for questions. Each youth livestock exhibitor is accompanied by a parent, ag teacher, 4-H club leader or Extension agent. Presenters are encouraged to not only share the daily care of their animals, but also include their personal stories of growing up with livestock. 

These species will be included in the demonstrations: rabbit, sheep, meat and dairy goat, beef and dairy cattle, swine and chickens. 

These presentations will create a new platform and hands-on experience for educating fairgoers on raising livestock. They will also showcase Iowa’s passionate and dedicated livestock exhibitors.

Experience Dairy! Tours will be held on these days and times at the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds and Milking Parlor in the North Annex of the John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn:

  • Aug. 11 at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 12-14 at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 15 at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. 
  • Aug. 16-17 at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

These tours will give fairgoers a peek into the life of Iowa farmers and their cows. Registration and the beginning of the tour will be held in the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds and then move to the milking parlor. The beginning portion of the tour will be all about dairy cows, including what they eat and how milk is made. 

Next, there will be a presentation on how Iowa dairy farmers care for their cattle. To round out the tour, the group will move to the milking parlor to learn about the milking process and the steps from dairy farm to your supper’s glass of milk.

Bacon Buddies. This swine show is at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 in the swine barn. The event will will pair up an Iowan with special needs and a 4-H or FFA member, and together they participate in showing pigs.

The idea for this event was brought forward by an FFA exhibitor after attending a similar show at another fair. Bacon Buddies is not the first show of its kind, and the Iowa State Fair staff reached out to other fairs with similar shows for input. 

Successful programs at other fairs include:

  • Davison, Hanson and Turner 4-H counties iLead program in South Dakota
  • All for One Swine Show at the Wisconsin State Fair 
  • Ellis County Youth Expo Day in the Ring Program in Texas

Iowa State Fair staff members have been happy to work with the National Pork Board, Special Olympics Iowa and several swine enthusiasts, including the FFA exhibitor who brought the program forward, to make this event happen in 2019.

3 new livestock shows

Three new livestock shows will also be at the fair this year: Friesian horses, Hereford hogs and American Blue cattle. 

Friesian horses will be shown in the Society Horse classes during these days and times at the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center:

  • Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. 
  • Aug. 14  at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 15  at 9 a.m. 

Hereford hogs will be shown at 8 a.m. Aug. 15 in the swine barn. Rounding out the last of the new shows, American Blue cattle will be shown at 1 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Bob and Deb Pulver Outdoor Arena. 

Accompanying this trio of shows, a trio of bronze statues will be added to Pella Plaza to honor Iowa’s beef, lamb and pork producers. “The Trio — Off to the Show” is a life-size lamb and hog ready to show in 2019, with a steer to follow in 2020.

As the fair embarks on its 165th year, the tradition of agriculture holds strong. These new events will provide hands-on educational experiences for fairgoers. While many aspects of the agriculture industry have changed since the first fair in1854, a love of competition and an excitement to educate have remained.

The Iowa State Fair’s mission statement follows: To celebrate Iowa’s agricultural heritage by providing a quality environment and facilities to further education and to offer entertainment and competition for all ages. Offer opportunities for individual growth for all involved.

Zehnder is the marketing content intern for the 2019 Iowa State Fair.

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