Poultry exhibitors flock to the skillathon

The poultry exhibition ban in Ohio this year due to concerns about the possible spread of avian influenza left many exhibitors disappointed, though there still were opportunities to participate in the project at the Ohio State Fair.

Part of that learning process included the Ohio State Fair poultry skillathon that had 109 participants this year, a new record. In addition, there were a number of signs and displays around the grounds to Poultry Signseducate fairgoers about Ohio’s valuable poultry industry.

“It was a difficult decision to make to not allow any poultry at any of the fairs, exhibitions or sales in Ohio. We are as disappointed as anyone. We love the poultry at fairs and it is a great showcase for the public,” said Jim Chakeres with the Ohio Poultry Association. “It is also a very teachable moment for 4-H and FFA members.”

There will not be an outstanding market exhibitor competition for poultry exhibitors this year but there will be a poultry package auctioned off in the Sale of Champions to provide funds for the Youth Reserve Program. As for next year’s fairs, no one knows yet if the poultry show ban will be reinstated.

“Some say this avian influenza is done and some say it is a five-year cycle. I am hoping that we are done. This is spread by migratory waterfowl and we are really concerned about this fall when they go back down south and next spring when they come back north,” Chakeres said. “We want to make sure to stress that we do not have avian influenza and that eggs, turkey and chicken are safe to eat. This is not a disease of human concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified this as very low risk and there have been no transmissions to humans.”

Here are the poultry skillathon age division winners who will be representing the poultry industry in 2015 Sale of Champions.

9-year-old – Masson Sanders, Richland County

10-year-old – Katelyn Vollrath, Union County

11-year-old – Caleb Murawski, Ashland County

12-year-old – Mel Lindner, Erie County

13-year-old – Jillian Salmon, Delaware County

14-year-old – Seth Abel, Licking County

15-year-old – Dorothy Rees, Union County

16-year-old – Autumn Mohler, Union County

17-year-old – Taylor Thatcher, Clinton County

18-year-old – Mallory Spring, Muskingum County

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