Ohio Cattlemen’s Association offers unique opportunities for breeders and youth

MARYSVILLE, Ohio —The Best of the Buckeye Program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair, is gearing up for its third season.

The program provides Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, creates a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige, and attracts new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair. Breeders are encouraged to request a Best of the Buckeye logo for use in printed and digital promotion of Best of the Buckeye eligible cattle. Email [email protected] to request the logo.

The Best of the Buckeye program will award up to $15,000 in participant and academic scholarships. The $500 participant scholarship opportunity is to offset the cost of purchasing, raising and exhibiting a Best of the Buckeye nominated calf. Scholarships will be awarded to less-experienced participants, ages 8-21, with consideration given to the applicant’s financial need. Scholarship applications can be found at http://www.ohiocattle.org/Youth/Best-of-Buckeye/scholarships and will be due on January 15, 2016. Scholarship recipients will be notified in February 2016, but must exhibit at either the Ohio Beef Expo or Ohio State Fair to receive the scholarship.

Academic scholarships will be offered to youth pursuing a post-high school degree. Scholarships will be based on academics and extracurricular activities. Eligible Best of the Buckeye participants are high school juniors through 21 years of age as of January 1, 2016. Academic scholarships will be awarded to participants pursuing an Ag related degree and may be awarded to applicants who are entering a non-Ag related field of study (based on the number of applications). All scholarship applicants will also be required to submit an essay along with their scholarship application. The scholarship essay topic will be predetermined and posted on the OCA website. The scholarship deadline will be June 15, 2016 and scholarships will be presented at the Ohio State Fair.

The Best of the Buckeye program will recognize top-placing Ohio bred, born and registered calves, along with the breeder and exhibitor, in each breed division at the two shows. Thanks to generous sponsors, up to $45,000 will be presented through premiums at each show, scholarships and awards. This year’s sponsors are Garwood Cattle Company, LLC, heifer division; Jones Show Cattle and R.D. Jones Excavating, Inc., steer division; and Franklin Equipment, scholarship. New for 2016, individual breeders may send in additional sponsorship to the breed(s) of their choice to be awarded to the top placing Best of the Buckeye exhibitors in addition to the base premiums offered. To donate, contact the OCA office.

For cattle to be eligible for the Best of the Buckeye program, they must be registered and bred by an Ohio cattleman and born in state. ET calves and calves out of purchased bred cows are eligible if they were born in Ohio and list an Ohio cattleman as the breeder. Breeders and exhibitors must be OCA members and in good standing with OCA to be eligible. Exhibitors must be Ohio residents and meet the age requirements for the Ohio Beef Expo and/or Ohio State Fair junior shows.

To participate in Best of the Buckeye, breeders must complete a nomination form (each form can be used to nominate up to five animals from the same breeder) and sign an affidavit verifying Best of the Buckeye eligibility. The breeder or exhibitor may submit the nomination forms and fee for the Best of the Buckeye nominations. Cattle that are nominated prior to the Ohio Beef Expo by March 1, 2016 and prior to the Ohio State Fair by June 20, 2016 will incur a $25 per head nomination fee per show. Cattle may be nominated for both shows by March 1, 2016 for a rate of $40. Breeders will have the opportunity to nominate cattle through check-in at the Ohio Beef Expo and at the Ohio State Fair at an increased late nomination fee of $75 per head.

Best of the Buckeye exhibitor rules, last year’s show results and additional nomination details are available at http://www.ohiocattle.org/Youth/best-of-the-buckeye or by contacting the OCA office. For more information, contact the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association at 614-873-6736, email [email protected]