Fair’s dairy competition may have been last
Guests who viewed two Holstein dairy cattle at the Marion County Fair last week may have been viewing the last of the program.
Chad Mueller of Tampa has shown dairy cattle at the county fair for 12 years following in his sister’s, brother’s, and father’s footsteps, but for several years, he has been the only entry in the county. This was the final year Mueller was eligible to show, and he’s concerned the project will die.
“It is sad to see this part of the 4-H exhibit come to an end,” he said. “Having dairy animals at the fair gives a connection to those people that are not familiar with farms that this is where the milk they drink comes from.”
He said he would like to see more involvement with those in the county’s dairy industry to continue the tradition and teach people about the importance of dairy farming.
“You have to have families and kids interested to keep it going,” he said.
When Mueller began showing at age 7, there were four other families involved.
“I grew up being around dairy animals,” he said. “I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to start showing.”
Mueller’s dad, Donald Mueller, showed dairy cattle at the fair at a time where there were so many animals entered, the barns could not hold all of the dairy and beef cattle at the same time.
“Dairy animals would be at the fair two days then leave and beef animals would come in,” Chad Mueller said. “Times have changed and the number of animals and 4-H’ers have dwindled.”
Because he won grand champion, Mueller will continue to show at the state fair. He plans to show in the Junior Dairy Show where he is eligible for two more years as well as in open classes at the state fair.
Mueller plans to major in farm and ranch management at Hutchinson Community College starting in the fall, and participate in the livestock judging team.