GREENVILLE — Ohio youth livestock exhibitors may not enjoy the thrill of the Ohio State Fair this summer, but they will have a competitive arena to finish their beef, sheep, swine, and boer goat projects. Led by a group of agriculture industry volunteers and livestock show enthusiasts, the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo (OYLE) will host a show for junior exhibitors over a series of dates in July and August.
More than 900 Ohio 4-H and FFA members will exhibit nearly 3,280 individual entries at the inaugural event.
Beef cattle, sheep, and boer goat projects will show at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, Ohio, with shows beginning July 25 and ending August 5.
Hogs will show at the Pickaway Agriculture & Events Center in Circleville, Ohio, with shows beginning August 9 and ending August 18.
Hosting the Expo across a range of dates at two different sites is designed to provide a livestock show environment that also fosters adequate social distancing. By separating show days and locations by species, smaller numbers of exhibitors, family members and event volunteers will be on the grounds at any given time during the show.
“Safety comes first for everyone involved,” said Megan Wendt, OYLE volunteer and business owner from Dublin, Ohio. “Spreading out shows, cleaning barns between shows, and providing online streaming for family and friends at home are all steps we are taking to keep our exhibitors and volunteers safe.”
The organizing committee will make determinations on policies related to spectators and wearing of masks closer to show date to incorporate the most up-to-date guidance from state and local health officials.
A group of nearly 50 volunteers are coordinating this effort, including raising tens of thousands of dollars, working with local health officials, implementing safety protocols, and providing an opportunity for kids to complete youth livestock projects that started, in some cases, almost a year ago.
“One of the hallmarks of youth livestock projects is that it teaches kids the value of hard work, even in uncertain times,” Wendt said. “We felt we owed it to those kids to give them the chance to finish what they started, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.”
More information about the Expo, including a full schedule of events, is available at https://www.TheOYLE.com