By Matt Reese
Judges scrutinized, auctioneers sold, and ringmen bellowed out the bids. Fitters fitted and exhibitors showed their cattle with poise. By all accounts, the trade show was well attended and clearly attendees were happy to see each other and gather as an industry. The cattle, as always, were top notch.
The cattle industry met in Columbus for the Ohio Beef Expo for the first time since March of 2019. The event has tremendous implications for the state’s cattle industry and was a welcome addition to the March 2021 schedule for attendees. Making the show a reality, though, took an extensive effort from the planners, including Pam Haley, co-chair of the event.
“We usually, on a normal year, start everything in early fall to start piecing things together. This year it has been ongoing since we had to cancel last year. We had to wait on the state to open up. We started planning at the normal time, really not knowing if we could have this event,” Haley said. “We didn’t send out contracts and things as early as we normally would. From the outside looking in, it may have felt a little rushed. There were so many uncertainties about putting this on.”
Creating health guidelines to fit the event and meet the requirements took time as well.
“The rules were submitted multiple times to make changes and to make sure we had everything covered,” Haley said. “We understand everyone’s feelings about what has been going on over the last year. We know folks are tired of some of the things that we are doing, but we are following the rules because that is what we had to do to make this an event.”
For example, the schedule for the event’s seven seedstock sales was spread out to reduce the number of buyers in one area and scheduled for one sale at a time utilizing only one sale ring in the Voinovich building. The junior show was spread out over 2 days as well. The planning effort was significant, but the event was worthwhile.
“Agriculture is an essential business in this state and this country. Our folks need to run their businesses. We have breed sales for folks to be able to market their cattle and this may be the first time they have maybe gotten to visit in-person with their buyers. The trade show has businesses sitting on inventory from the last couple of years. They are ready to get back to business,” Haley said. “Some of the things we changed this year because we had to, but I don’t always think that is a bad thing. Some of the things we have put into place may stick around for the future. We have made some adjustments and we will go back and revisit these changes to see if they should stay. Everything had to give a little to make this happen.”
The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) 2021 Ohio Beef Expo took place over the weekend at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. For more, visit Ohiobeefexpo.com.