GREENVILLE — The fair board made a difficult but unanimous decision during their monthly meeting on Wednesday evening. It is a decision faced by not only Darke County but many others across the country in regards to an ingredient in some swine feed, ractopamine.
As previously reported, the feed ingredient is banned in numerous countries, including China, the world’s largest pork consumer. The ban falls down the U.S. production line, and to keep up with export demands includes show pigs at county fairs that are taken for slaughter.
The motion provided by Doug Martin, treasurer, and director, reads as follows:
“I make a motion to ban the use of all ractopamine products in all hogs coming to the 2020 Darke County Fair. The 2020 fair shall remain a terminal show with all hogs going on the provided packer truck to the highest bidder. Every effort will be made to solicit the highest bid possible. A signed affidavit provided by the Ohio Department of Agriculture must be filled out and turned in to exhibit or sell in Junior Fair, open, or born and raised shows, or to participate in Junior Fair livestock auction. To allow a level playing field for all Junior Fair exhibitors, there will be no private butcher hogs picked up for slaughter. Any packer assessments related to the use of ractopamine will be passed on to the exhibitor. Those exhibitors will also lose all premiums, prizes, and sale proceeds. Also, the winners of the top six positions in the Junior Fair show will be urine tested for the presence of ractopamine.”
Auglaize County Agricultural Society released a similar ban on ractopamine in hogs exhibited in the 2020 Auglaize County fair. The group noted exhibitors could potentially face fines or a bar from the fair if slaughtered hogs are found to have had ractopamine.
In January, Warren County announced it would be a ractopamine free swine show for 2020.
While acknowledgment was made that ractopamine is a legal product, the decision ultimately comes down to packers’ response to consumer demand.
The discussion was lengthy, with many in attendance citing it as taking food out of their mouths and with it a significant loss of money.
Other concerns included how the ban may hurt the number of exhibitors as well as questions on security.
“This is a lose-lose situation for all of us,” said Martin, who emphasized this decision was for 2020 only. “This is what we feel like we have to do.”
Discussion on the upcoming 2020 fair also included a brief presentation on a sensory-friendly building and a sensory-friendly event.
The presentation was provided by Amanda Mote, who led the Darke County Fair Fine Arts Department for 2019, along with Sam Ploch and Sue Huston, Community Connections and Advocacy Coordinator for Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The building will be similar to the sensory room at the back of the Fine Arts building during the 2019 fair. The room was painted black with an air conditioner, comfortable furniture, and other related items.
Ploch shared the building would “allow a break from all the stress” for those sensitive to the noises associated with the fair.
According to Ed Erisman, director, and Fine Arts superintendent, the building will be located between the spiritual and the fine arts buildings. He hopes to landscape and to provide benches for those waiting outside a place to rest.
The board of directors also discussed the following:
*Rescind a previous motion for the proposed location of the new dog barn with discussions to continue at a later time
*Motion to approve a one-year contract with Bender Electrical
The Fair Board meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month in the board room in the office under the grandstand. Meetings are open to the public.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.