Consolidation and inflation impacting county fair livestock entries
Livestock entries are down at some county fairs as exhibitors face higher input costs, inflation, and herd consolidation.
Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Vice President Dave Hake is from Washington County, the third largest dairy producing county in the state, but tells Brownfield you wouldn’t know it by looking in the dairy barn at their county fair.
“The 50 to 60 cow dairy herds are gone. Now they are 500 to 1,000 cow dairy herds and those people aren’t taking the time to go to the county fair and show their livestock.”
He says the same goes for beef and swine where the industries are seeing more commercialization.
Hake tells Brownfield expenses for exhibitors have also gone up significantly. Not only inputs like livestock feed, but also things like meals and gas.
“It is experience for the kids, but at the same time they like to at least break even on the project, and it is hard for them anymore to break even on anything.”
He says some county fairs are still seeing steady livestock numbers but expects these issues will continue to detour some exhibitors in the coming years.
Brownfield interviewed Hake while he was visiting the Marion County Fair this week, where Fair Board President Doug Telford said their livestock number have remained steady with several new exhibitors this year.