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Kern County Fair board discusses options for livestock shows

Charlotte Reeves, "Claire's Cash Reward"
Posted at 8:31 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 23:34:56-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — While the status of this year's fair is still up in the air, deadlines for livestock entries are quickly approaching, leaving many who regularly compete with questions.

During the Kern County Fair Board meeting Monday, board members discussed different options for those who raise animals to show, many of whom are local 4-H and National FFA students. For these students, the fair is not only an event that takes place for a couple of weeks in the summer but something they prepare for over the course of months.

"We've made some plans that if we are available from the governor and the county health to be able to have the show, that we will keep everything in Barn 12," said Dawn Stornetta, a livestock supervisor for the Kern County Fair. "We're assuming our numbers will be down. And if we feel like we need to or if our numbers are too large the poultry will come on a show-and-go basis."

A show-and-go basis was just one of the options fair board members discussed to keep livestock shows in action this year. Show-and-go, as it sounds, means the student would bring their animal one at a time to show, and then go home. This method would keep the students and animals from interacting with other members and other livestock.

Stornetta said that if it is possible to hold a live show, they want to ensure students have that opportunity. However, with the current and ever-changing state of the coronavirus, the board knows at any moment Gov. Gavin Newsom or the state could change the situation of the fair.

This puts them in a predicament, as entering and registering livestock takes time and money.

"I know that everybody wants to wait until July to make the decision on whether we're having a virtual or regular show, but we need to kind of get the information out there one what the plan is," Stornetta said.

If the fair decided to have a virtual show, Stornetta said the CFFA and the state are pushing for regulations to be centered around market animals, not breeding animals.

"The process of that is to be able to get the animals to and endpoint because that's what the animals are raised for," said Stornetta.

This means breeding poultry, sheep, rabbits, beef and other livestock would not be eligible for the virtual show.

The board has set a strike date for July to make a decision on what to do about livestock shows, contingent also on any changes made by the state. Board members agreed that before making a decision, they need to meet with livestock leaders to better discuss options and what members would like to do.

The board will meet again on June 29 for another regular meeting to revisit the livestock topic.