Beef, Christmas tree producers react differently to pandemic
Two segments of the farming community in Virginia are making plans for summer events in very different ways as COVID-19 continues to be part of life.
Two days of livestock judging for young people in and out of Virginia is being planned by the Virginia Junior Simmental Association on June 24-25 at the APEX Center near Wytheville, Va.
The annual Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association for later in the summer has been cancelled for this year.
A spokesman said the board has chosen to postpone it until next year.
The age of participants may be playing a part in each group’s decision.
The cattle show is for youth to age 22. A large portion of the tree growers are older people, many who fall in the “more vulnerable” population.
Rachel Penley, VJSA treasurer, said the youth in Virginia lost out on two major livestock shows, the Virginia Beef Roundup in Harrison and the Bristol Livestock Show. They were both cancelled because of the pandemic.
This new show, the Southwest Cattle Clash 2020, is the group’s effort to make up for the loses earlier in the year.
The show will be compliant with Virginia Phase III COVID-19 planning, Matthew Miller, Wythe County Extension agent, reported.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam opened the state up to Phase III July 1 giving groups more options for youth activities.
The recently completed barn and the APEX Arena will allow for excellent social distancing while permitting youth to exhibit cattle that they have been unable to show as so many spring and summer shows have been cancelled, Miller wrote in an e-mail.
He continued that those interested can learn more and see updates on the Southwest Cattle Clash Facebook page.
He said early interest indicates a very competitive show at the easily accessible APEX facility.
Penley, a high school junior who lives on her family’s beef cattle farm in Bland County, is excited about the show she has helped organize,
She has six animals in the barn given to her and her brother Robbie a couple of years ago as a Christmas present from their parents. She is readying them for the show.
She had halter broken 12 animals earlier in the year and chosen her show animals from that group.
“I love halter breaking,” she exclaimed when asked in a telephone interview why she shows cattle. “I love the cattle industry. I love everything about cattle. I want to e a veterinarian,”
She has been riding with a local vet this summer to get a feel for the work.
VJSA has recruited two judges for the event, Dr. Tom Turner of Ohio State University and Ms. Alexis Wivell of the University of Wyoming.
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