Four Swine Champions Test Negative for Ractopamine

The Hardin County Fair is announcing that all four swine champions tested negative for ractopamine following the 2020 Hardin County Fair. In collaboration with the fair veterinarian’s office and the processing facility, each animal’s kidney was collected for testing. These tests –  commonly referred to as the “lifetime test” – evaluates the use of ractopamine throughout the animal’s life. Each exhibitor was required to produce an affidavit certifying that the animal hadn’t been fed ractopamine, the active ingredient in brand-name products like Paylean® and OptaFlexx®. Breeders were also required to submit an affidavit certifying the same.

“We said we were going to test as testing allowed, and that’s exactly what we did. Ractopamine is a banned substance at the Hardin County Fair. We believe that because of this, our fair saw one of the highest rebuy bids on hogs in Northwest Ohio,” said Charlie McCullough, Swine Committee Chairman. “We are proud of our exhibitors for abiding by this new guideline. We know this required altering feed programs and generated some uncertainty. Thank you for sticking with us.”

To avoid positive tests, all surfaces that hogs would come in contact with were deep-cleaned prior to the start of the fair to prevent ractopamine contamination.

More information on the ractopamine policy, resources on a ractopamine-free swine project, and more can be found at hardincountyfair.org/ractopamine.

An open letter to our community

Dear friends,

The sun has set on the 2020 Hardin County Fair. In a year unlike any other, one thing remains true no matter the year. Our community has supported us every step of the way. We are thankful. We are thankful for our exhibitors for wanting to exhibit their animals in a time where not having a fair was a very real possibility. Thank you to those exhibitors parents who accepted a risk greater than normal. We do this for the kids. Without exhibitors and their supporters, we wouldn’t have a reason to have a fair at all any year, including this one. We want to thank all of our elected leaders and county agencies. From our county Sheriff’s Office, Fire and EMS districts who make sure we are safe every year, to the Kenton-Hardin Health Department who provided key individuals that helped us put on a fair in the middle of a global pandemic. We need to thank all of the volunteers that support our committees, help with shows, volunteer with 4-H and make our fair possible year after year. We couldn’t do it without you. Our junior fair board has stepped up in a huge way to help us get the fair ready and then to execute it. Thank you, junior fair board members and advisors. Lastly, we want to thank our community that couldn’t be with us this year. It was painful to have to tell our friends in the community that we wouldn’t get to see them this year. We’re sure that it was equally painful to hear. Through all of that, through uncertainty, through changing guidelines and a collective 80 pages across two different health and safety plans, you stuck with us and supported us. We are thankful. 

We set out with two missions. Provide the youth in our community the opportunity to exhibit their projects and give our community something to rally behind together in a season of distance and isolation. Our team spent approximately 3,840 collective hours in meetings and even more on phone calls and sending emails planning to do just that, and we hope you feel that we’ve done the best job we can – we put forth our best effort. We know that this fair wasn’t ideal. It isn’t what anyone wanted – certainly not us. However, the exhibitors, their supporters, junior fair board and the community members took the turmoil and animosity in stride.

We have been on several statewide calls this year to hear what other county and independent fairs have done. Some couldn’t afford the financial strain and made the tragic choice to cancel. Some decided to ignore the rules. We feel that we put on the best fair we could while following all of the guidelines designed to keep everyone safe. That said, we are anxiously awaiting a new day when we can gather together for our county fair once again. We’ll see you all again very soon.

With thanks, gratitude, and sincerity,

The Hardin County Fair Board & Staff

Corey Ledley, President

Brad Murphy, Vice President

Justin Beale

Dan Beale

Dale Cockerell

Jake McFadden

Rob Wilson

Charlie McCullough

Mark Garmon

Craig Stump

Austin Eibling

Kelly Buchenroth

Paul Ralston

Andrew Scharf

Christa Rarey

Craig Decker

Steve Harpster

Jason Fulton

Jack McBride

Jeff Morris

Judi Cronley, Secretary/Treasurer

Pete Fout, Caretaker

Kolt Buchenroth, Marketing & Communication Director