Board agrees to improve Swine Barn


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Agricultural Society’s Board of Directors has agreed to help exhibitors in the Swine Barn during the 2024 Great Darke County Fair. The approval came at the June 19 meeting of the Fair Board.

At the first meeting in June, Director Curtis Yount addressed the board and asked for over $60,000 in upgrades to the electrical system in the Swine Barn. He cited a safety hazard and possibly a fire code violation with very few electrical drops over where the majority of hog pens are now located. No action was taken at that time. The electrical drops will drop electric outlets from the ceiling to spots above where the hog pens will be located. There were issues at last year’s fair with how extension cords were being used.

At the most recent meeting, Yount renewed his request. “You need 46 boxes, you’ve got 18,” said Yount. He and Director Marla Werner said they each talked to the fire marshal and the issue is with how the exhibitors run extension cords in the barn. “How are they going to run extension cords. We’ve got to get started. Let Mike (Bender of Bender Electric) get started,” said Yount. Werner, treasurer of the Agricultural Society, shot back, “You haven’t even given us a price.” She said she has been asking since November or December for the board to get a price from Bender Electric. “I have asked every meeting, and nobody has brought a price to this board,” Werner added.

Director Jim Zumbrink asked about the plug-ins around the outside of the building and if they are being used. Yount explained the barn was reconfigured so the pens can better serve the exhibitors. The exhibitor’s tack (show boxes and storage boxes) is stored along the walls of the pen or on top of the pens. This is to keep the hogs from being distracted and safe from corners, boxes, etc. when they are being moved from their pen to the show ring. Exhibitors would need to run extension cords across the aisle to their pens, which would create another hazard. Zumbrink said, “They are not utilizing some of the stuff they’ve got.” He added, “It’s a dirty shame we spent the money putting all the electric on the outside of that building and not using it.”

Werner noted there is money in the Swine Department’s building account to do some of the work. A motion was made to install 15 electrical drops before the 2024 fair. Yount and Zumbrink estimated the cost to be approximately $1,000 per drop.

Director Heidi May received approval from the board to spend $1,500 to purchase a new head gate for the beef and dairy barn. The current head gate has been fixed multiple times over the years. Director Apollo Perez suggested the current head gate is generic. He would like the board to purchase a head gate that has a place where they can tie down the halter. The head gate is used to tag beef and dairy cattle in the winter prior to the fair and also during the fair for weigh-ins.

Although she was given approval to purchase the head gate, she will work with Perez to determine if there is another option. May expects to sell the current head gate and a head gate that is no longer used, as well as asking the beef and dairy departments to contribute to the purchase to help pay for the new head gate.

In other business, the board:

* Agreed to purchase 10 electric poles;

* Agreed to purchase a Scissor Lift;

* Agreed to have the Horseshoe Building treated for termites; and

* Tabled the issue of rain insurance for the concert during the fair.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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