The Missouri State Fair Commission voted to approve a plan to implement a cattle barn bedding pilot project. The project will provide stall bedding for cattle exhibitors during the 2020 Missouri State Fair.
“This project has been a priority for the Commission and Missouri State Fair staff,” said Fair Director Mark Wolfe. “Through the efforts of many dedicated individuals, I am excited to see this pilot project being implemented for the upcoming Fair.”
Wolfe said the first part of the pilot project is removal of the existing sand in the cattle barn stalls and the addition of a compacted lime base. This currently is in progress by State Fair maintenance staff. The Fair will purchase premium mulch bedding from Missouri Mulch, from New Florence, Mo., that will be used in each cattle stall during the State Fair. The mulch will come from scrap pieces of white oak trees used to make wine barrel staves.
Following the State Fair, Bluebird Compositing, from Fulton, Mo., will pick up and haul the used mulch to be made into organic compost, which, in turn, will be used to fertilize the white oak trees that make up the bedding mulch.
“The life cycle of the mulch is fascinating and shows real efforts in agricultural stewardship and doing what’s best for our Fair, our exhibitors and our environment,” said Wolfe. “Thanks to the many partners who came together to make this happen including Chad Sayre with Allstate Consultants LLC, from Columbia, Mo., the Missouri State Fair Foundation, Missouri 4-H and Missouri FFA and other livestock associations.”
Sayre donated his and his company’s time to work with the various partners to formulate the pilot project plan. Anticipated costs for the pilot project are estimated at $33,000 a year. The State Fair Commission approved a plan to divide the costs into thirds. The Missouri State Fair Foundation is sponsoring the costs associated with the composting (approximately $11,000) and the Fair will pay approximately $11,000 to support cattle exhibitors.
A bedding fee of $10 per head will be implemented for beef cattle exhibitors only. This fee will be collected along with beef cattle entries, which totaled approximately 1,100 head shown in 2019.
Dairy cattle, which show toward the end of the Fair, will still be allowed to bring in their own straw to place on top of the mulch bedding. Wolfe said that all cattle exhibitors will be required to keep their bedding clean and trash free so that it can be made into compost.
The 118th Missouri State Fair, themed “Home is Here” will be held Aug. 13-23 in Sedalia. For more information about the Fair, visit mostatefair.com, follow the Fair on social media or call 1-800-422-FAIR (3247).