Colorado State Fair. What was up with this?

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SWMO

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This was in Beefmagazine.com


I've heard it said many times that the problem with any youth program is the parents. To that we might add: "and those who are in charge of enforcing the rules but refuse to do it."

The controversy this year going into the Colorado State Fair (CSF) was that the 4-H and FFA programs were requiring all livestock entries to have a premise ID. This was quite possibly the most publicized CSF rule ever due to the controversy that accompanied its implementation.

Those opposed to national ID capitalized on it as their rallying cry, instituting public-relations and protest campaigns at quite a few of the county fairs. Incidentally, the rule was implemented at the behest of several of the state's largest cattlemen's groups as a proactive step in protecting the health of Colorado livestock.

The rule required all 4-H livestock projects in the state to have a premises ID for the 2007-2008 calendar year, but two animals that had qualified for this year's livestock sale didn't have a premises ID. The owners were asked to simply list an address and phone number on a slip of paper, but they refused, apparently preferring to make a political statement.

But for some inexcusable and unexplainable reason, CSF officials essentially rewarded these youth exhibitors for not adhering to rules that were very clear. While the animals weren't allowed to sell in the sale, they were given the exact same amount as the replacement animals that were chosen, and the exhibitors were reimbursed for their travel expenses!

Several key factors need to be mentioned. First, livestock shows run a high risk for disease transmission, and animal-health officials felt the premises-ID rule was a very good tool to help stop some sort of outbreak. Exhibitors, of course, always have a choice; if they don't agree with the rules established by 4-H or FFA, they can elect not to participate in those programs. But they shouldn't have the right to pick and choose which rules they will follow. After all, an exhibitor without health or brand papers wouldn't have been allowed to show.

Most people reacted in dismay and frustration upon watching once again a prominent youth program get bullied into not following its own rules due to the threat of litigation and controversy. But, at some level, the episode is almost humorous in that these exhibitors not only chose not to comply with established rules, but were rewarded beyond other exhibitors who did follow the rules.

Sure, it was an orchestrated attempt by activists to raise an issue. And CSF avoided litigation -- which would assuredly have won -- as well as negative media coverage that youth programs definitely don't need. But CSF officials also sent the message loud and clear that all rules are only suggestions; and if you elect to not follow them, and are willing to threaten lawsuits, then you will be rewarded.

Of course, setting aside the CSF's unwillingness to enforce its own rules and the message that sent, it's still a great thing to walk through the aisles of this country's livestock shows and see the quality of young men and women who participate. It's also gratifying to witness the support that local communities continue to give to these programs to make them possible. Politicizing our youth is bad enough, but being rewarded for doing so was something that should not have happened.  Copyright:  2007 PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc. 

 

knabe

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this falls under, we didn't write the rules clearly enough to include YOUR place of premisis, so we can't really enforce the rule, so to look like we did, and so you won't sue us, we dream up a comprimise.  this is one of those regulation things i'm leery of.  what is the ultimate goal of this project.  on one hand i give kudo's to the people who faked their location for protesting somehow, on the other hand, there are rules, on the other hand, the administration probably didn't have exposure to an election close to their decision to impose the voluntary system and make it mandatory.  i think this list will be abused more than used to castigate animal owners.  this has happened locally in my area to castigate ranchers who "take" money from the government to improve their land through the local resource conservation district (of which i sit on the board), and castigate them in the papers.  imagine them getting a hold of this list, as i've said before, and calculating your phosphorus runoff and suing you, and then trying to defend yourself.  the balance is too far shifted to the side where all you have to do is make a claim, and it costs too much to defend yourself, they know it, and take advantage of it.  there is currently no market solution to push back these zealots.  so go ahead, support it without safeguards or restraints to what's really necessary and effective to tracking down disease, mind you with the goal of zero tolerance for errors.  just like gun dealers, one mispelling on a form, and your license will be taken away.  don't believe it?  look it up.  i am not for this regulation in it's current form.
 

cowz

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Here is my opinion on this topic.....my take on it only.   My son sold an animal in the sale.  This is a huge privilege.  It was made entirely clear that you had to have a premises ID number to even enter the Colorado State Fair.  The two entrants who refused to get a premises ID were not entirely honest with the CSF staff as they used the number assigned to their county fair grounds and county extension office.  Because their extension agents were wrongly informed of this being OK, they felt they should not penalize the child for what misinformation was given by some of the staff.  This was a tough deal all the way around.

My opinion is that if you are asked to identify where the animal has been housed and fed during the term of the project, you should use a number that identifies where the animal actually was.  To me, you are cheating the system by saying your animal was housed at the county fair grounds all year.  The only reason they got caught is that they checked the validity of the NAIS of all the sale qualifiers.  To get a NAIS, you are giving the same simple information that you give your local brand inspector when you sell cattle.  And yes, EVERYONE in the state of Colorado has to have a brand inspection.

The real reason everyone is soooooo upset is that the Colorado State University Extension system and all Colorado 4H market livestock exhibitors are required to have a premises ID# in order to compete in the 2007-2008 programs.  Plain and simple. No discussion.  This has already been decided.

We all have choices to make.  Those of us serious about marketing cattle have already gotten a number.  Those of us who have a serious distrust of the government will never get one.  If your children want to compete in 4H, you will get one.  Takes about 2 minutes on the internet.  If you do not want to participate, that is your choice.  There are many other youth programs to participate in.  Most of the major shows already require this or will require in 2008.

I commend the CSF for sticking to some of their other rules like they have never done so before.  There is a "No pumping" rule for cattle.  This has never been enforced.  This year one family pumped  a steer, in the chute in front of everyone......didn't seem to care that a beef superintendent was walking past.   They were DQ'd and sent home on the spot.

Many swine projects were DQ'd for their ear notches not matching the entry cards.  Hooray.   I like it when the rules are not just on paper and a few of the folks that always get away with things no longer can.

Thanks for letting me vent.  The intent of NAIS is for disease tracking and not so that Big Brother knows how many cows you have.  (Go on Google Earth to count your neighbors cows!  HaHa)
 

knabe

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i agree with everything you said cowz.  the problem is that the system is not voluntary, and this is the method that the government is using to get compliance, so it's not really voluntary, and there is no choice.  there's that word again doggonit.  same things gonna happen with the superhighway along I35.  there's no distrust of the government there, it's just fact.
 

cowz

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knabe said:
i agree with everything you said cowz.  the problem is that the system is not voluntary, and this is the method that the government is using to get compliance, so it's not really voluntary, and there is no choice.  there's that word again doggonit.  same things gonna happen with the superhighway along I35.  there's no distrust of the government there, it's just fact.

I'm going to get cranky on this one.  Exhibiting at the state fair is voluntary as well.   ;D

Here is a clipping from the Rocky Mountain News:

Monday, state fair administrators said two contestants listed the LaPlata County Fairgrounds on their entry forms, but that neither had raised the animals there. Both were disqualified.

Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp said Thursday that he supports the identification program.

"State fairs are a popular opportunity for young people to showcase their projects, but there's an element of risk there we're trying to minimize by knowing where these animals came from and being able to trace them back in a quick manner," Stulp said.

I really resent the families that "tried to pull a fast one" on the system by using an inaccurate number.  It is also interesting that these families and the family of other steer DQ'd for pumping all come from the same county.  Ethically, I think that ag agents and parents should teach their kids to follow the rules.  If you do not have good examples to follow, no wonder we have to have all these rules in the first place!
 

chambero

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I'm not familiar with the Colorado State Fair at all.

How many steers usually show up?

How many steers make the sale?

What do calves brings?

Do you show by breeds or how is it organized?
 

knabe

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again, i agree with you cowz.  deception gets me cranky too.  not the right way to go about it.  what are the penalties for using the database for anything else other than disease tracking?  that's what get me cranky.  it will be soon "voluntary" to scan your horse on every excursion off your property.  dogs will be next.  cats?  where are the safety mechanisms?  I haven't seen the same fervor for them as compliance.  already brought up in CA state legislature to do the registration thing with cats in calif and register every owner and make them pay a fee and force them to spay unless they register as a breeder at a higher fee, around $45 i think, to what specified cost benefit other than just saying it will help something.  how will it help compared to what's done now, and how much more effective will it be at what cost.  the rationalization here is that with an infinite amount of money, disease will still happen.  what is effective and acceptable rather than saying we are doing everything we can.  this is a slippery slope.
 

cowz

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chambero said:
I'm not familiar with the Colorado State Fair at all.

How many steers usually show up?

How many steers make the sale?

What do calves brings?

Do you show by breeds or how is it organized?

Our ag economy is pretty tough as most are still trying to recover from the bad drought and bad winter.

This was the smallest steer show ever.  We usually have around 150-200 steers.  This year we showed 71.  Our local county fair had 108.

35 steers, 35 hogs, 35 lambs and 20 meat goats sell.  Steers bring from 2500 - 4000 on the average.  The Grand steer brought 50K.

The steers are shown by weight classes, usually 10-15 head per class.
 

frostback

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Hey cowz. I agree with what you are saying about breacking rules and such but your facts are a little off. They did not PUMP 10 gallons of water they had a drench gun and just wet the steers mouth before his class. I felt bad for them but showed them that it is writtin right in the rules. It was a costly mistake to not know what all the rules were. A lesson for all.
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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This really has very little to do with this post but.... I understand the premise behind the national ID program, however it puts a bur under my saddle that sooner or later they will legislate that we will all have to have electronic ear tags in every animal that we own. Maybe I'm just suspicious but I'll bet that they will have somebody keeping track of the number of ear tags that we are FORCED to buy to comply with the program. I'm not sure I really like the idea of the government knowing exactly how many cows I own 24/7. If it is strictly a tracking method maybe we should take a step back in history when open range was the only plan. Every animal was identified by a brand and and when it changed ownership it got a new one. I have a registered brand that goes on every animal here and it is quite easy to see where these animals orriginated from, permanently burnt into the hide of the animal unlike the ear tags that get ripped out and lost. My point being make every state a mandatory brand state and this problem is solved and it will save the producers a big chunck of change in the long run. Vent over - karma points gone!
 

showcattlegal

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Cowz, the people that got caught pumping has done a lot more then that she showed a Char cross steer at your state fair then had some one show it in NM. Which we have to tag them in in april. I wouldn't be surpiesed if that hereford cross steer ends up here too.
 

DL

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Well what a mess - I have scanned what everyone has said so I hope I don't misinterpret anything!

We in MI have required RFID for all cattle as of March 1, 2007. In order to get tags one had to have a premise ID - I checked in the first show after the requirement went in to effect and did so with great trepidation - proud to say EVERY SINGLE MICHIGAN JUNIOR HAD AN RFID TAG IN THEIR ANIMALS EAR.

With the TB issue we have been facing over the last decade this is really not a big deal. We in MI certainly have more pressing issues than RFID or premise ID in marketing our cattle - in fact RFID is a requirement in order to improve our states TB status and hopefully improve our ability to market our cattle.

This is really a non issue for most of us in MI - there is the usual big fuss from people who do not have livestock and believe that all turkeys will have RFID and that someone can track them by satelite - as if this is really something you would want to do from space ;D There is also the concern that all the activities of dogs that have been microchipped can tracked and stored (really?!) and other hog wash - some of the Amish dairy farmers object on religious grounds (don't ask me I don't get it)

IMHO it is a small price to pay to help us get out of this huge quagmire TB has caused us

knabe - I disagree a bit with you - people have a choice to show at the Colorado State Fair or not - (and in MI as long as they never leave your premise you have to choice not to tag them) -

what I always find incredibly interesting as someone who checks in cattle is if people don't follow the rules - don't read the rules - it is somehow my fault that they can't /didn't read the rules = guess that is not just a MI issue
  ;)
 

Gypsy

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ROAD WARRIOR said:
This really has very little to do with this post but.... I understand the premise behind the national ID program, however it puts a bur under my saddle that sooner or later they will legislate that we will all have to have electronic ear tags in every animal that we own. Maybe I'm just suspicious but I'll bet that they will have somebody keeping track of the number of ear tags that we are FORCED to buy to comply with the program. I'm not sure I really like the idea of the government knowing exactly how many cows I own 24/7. If it is strictly a tracking method maybe we should take a step back in history when open range was the only plan. Every animal was identified by a brand and and when it changed ownership it got a new one. I have a registered brand that goes on every animal here and it is quite easy to see where these animals originated from, permanently burnt into the hide of the animal unlike the ear tags that get ripped out and lost. My point being make every state a mandatory brand state and this problem is solved and it will save the producers a big chunck of change in the long run. Vent over - karma points gone!

Unless I'm mistaken Colorado is a brand state?  Yes?  And again, unless I am mistaken every exhibitor had to send in an entry card and probably a DNA sample? Soooo, there is a record of who brought what.  Yes?  So what exactly is the purpose of premise ID for 4-Hers and FFAers?  Perhaps to get the rest of us to lockstep too by indoctrinating the youngsters?  Good grief.  I heard today that to show at the NWSS you will have to have a premise ID, will this mean that if you live in a state that is not yet REQUIRING  ::) voluntary premise registration, you will still have to do it to show?

Road Warrior karma points FOR you.  My cattle have lost a boatload of eartags, never have lost a brand.  It is not that hard to cut an eartag out if you want to steal an animal, brands are awfully hard to change.  A brand costs me a couple of cents for gasoline for the generator, RFID tag $ 2 - 3 bucks, plus I'll still have to brand. Plus IF I want to access the info on my own RFID tag I'll need to spend several hundred dollars on additional equipment.  I have a neighbor that does not brand his cattle, by law they have to be branded, so I suppose that if we change the law to require him to put an electronic eartag in his cattle he will all of a sudden start obeying the law?  This is just one more hoop for the law abiding, do things right folks to jump thru and another rule for the pond scum crowd to ignore.
 

red

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wow, once again a group bowing to the pressure. Very interesting reading. Thanks SWMO.

Red
 

chambero

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I could be wrong, but I imagine they implemented the rule as a test study to see if they can properly link up the RFID tags to the premesis ID numbers in the database.  I doubt its any more complicated than that.

We've been using RFID tags are our Texas validations for a while.  Honestly it has sped up the weighing process at our majors.
 

cowz

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chambero said:
I could be wrong, but I imagine they implemented the rule as a test study to see if they can properly link up the RFID tags to the premesis ID numbers in the database.  I doubt its any more complicated than that.

We've been using RFID tags are our Texas validations for a while.  Honestly it has sped up the weighing process at our majors.

What is interesting is that the RFID tags will not be required here until 2009.  The exhibitors only have to have the ID#.  The CSU extension even had a booth outside the beef barn to get the ID#'s instantly.  (I thought this was strange since you were supposed to have the number to even be entered.)

Arizona National required premise ID for last year.  NWSS will require it in January.  Do any of the other majors require it?

Here's more fuel for our fire:  http://wlj.net/editorial/090307_animal_id_sparks_incident_at_colorado_state_fair.htm
 

SWMO

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The only problem I see with RFID ear tags is that they do come off sometimes.  We use them on all of our cows.  Nice for getting average daily gain etc on our steers and feeders.  Also nice to actually know what a cow going through the chute weighs and what she weighed the last time across.  More accurate in worming and fly control.  All of this information is easily available using the new technology.  We still use the visual tags for day to day identification in the pasture.  Visual identification will always be a must.

What will pop them off in a hurry is if the cattle can get to string around a round bale or square bale.  Of course we remove the string or wrap from bales  but.... somehow cows will find a way into the hay stack.
 

DL

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Back in the old days of RFID they wanted them placed near the head under the fold at the top of the ear - now they apparently want them in the middle of the left ear - I have found that the ones put in in the fold at the top of the ear rarely come out - it is harder (physically) to place them there since the ear is thicker but with a little goop (ie betadine ointment or the like) on the male end it slides in pretty easy...if it ain't one thing it is another!.
 
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