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DOSWELL – This year’s State Fair of Virginia promises to have plenty of farm animals and livestock exhibits during its run Sept. 28 through Oct. 7 at Meadow Event Park.
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, a new partner in the State Fair, is assisting in recruiting livestock exhibitors to the event this year.
A dairy cattle birthing center is one livestock exhibit that will return to the fair. It will feature expectant dairy cows that will likely give birth during the fair’s run.
Beef cattle will be exhibited, too, according to Erin Henley, the State Fair’s newly appointed livestock manager. “Almost all of our livestock exhibits will be grouped in with the Young MacDonald’s Farm area, just east of the mansion and the agriculture pavilion,” she said.
A rabbit and poultry tent area is being planned that will allow visitors to view a variety of farm animal exhibits all in one place, according to Henley, who recently graduated from the dairy science program at Virginia Tech.
Many fairgoers likely are unfamiliar with the time and effort that livestock show competitors and exhibitors put into the transportation and daily care of large farm animals, noted Henley.
“Most of the trailers probably hold about eight full-size cows, each of which can weigh between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds,” she explained. “So moving cattle is not a job for just a pickup truck or two.”
Many of the animals have to be washed and groomed daily, and all of them have to be fed and watered each day. “It takes a lot of time and dedication for farmers to bring their animals to shows,” added Henley.