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Cows on parade for fair dairy show

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At only 4 years old, Charlie H. Hyman won his first blue ribbon showing a pale brown Swiss junior calf.

His calf, Icicle, was one of nearly 200 cows judged under the blue-and-white-striped tent Thursday at the Jefferson County Fair’s dairy cattle show.

“It’s like a beauty contest for cows, but you want one that’s functional at home,” judge Jennifer K. Mills said.

Just as in a beauty pageant, said Sharon V. Fleming, associate director of the fair, there are several physical features the dairy judges consider.

“We’re looking for a stylish dairy animal with balance,” she said. “Feet and legs are very important.”

Mrs. Mills added that there is an “ideal, correct mammary system” against which all of the animals are judged.

“You want a cow that’s easy to milk,” she said.

Mrs. Fleming said she was encouraged by the number of youth exhibitors this year, including Charlie and his 5-month-old brown Swiss calf.

“She likes showing,” Charlie said, giggling and shyly looking away.

His father, Todd R. Hyman of Hy-Light Farms, Adams, said this was Charlie’s first show.

“Are you happy?” Mr. Hyman asked his son. “Are you super excited?”

Charlie giggled and nodded.

“He’s been working with the calf two to three times a week,” Mr. Hyman said.

Ryan P. Gleisner, 12, of Willowbrook Farm, Philadelphia, has three years under his belt.

His junior yearling had more muscle and more stubbornness than Charlie’s, and was more difficult to handle.

“You have to try to keep her walking at the same pace as you want her,” he said. “We wash her up, brush her and make sure she’s all clean.”

His family showed six cows this year.

The public is invited to visit the dairy tent and learn about farm life.

“We enjoy being here to talk to the public and allowing them to see” what farmers do, Mrs. Fleming said. “It also gives farmers the chance to weigh their cattle against others.”

Today’s schedule at the fair includes a variety of 4-H shows, an ice cream eating contest, Disc-Connected K9s frisbee dog show, Bear Mountain Wildlife Encounter and a concert featuring the North Country Idol contestants. Gate admission is $5.



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