Poultry gets fair thinking

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Seven Poultry Club birds died due to heat at last year's Putnam County Fair, and that is one of the reasons the club is now looking at constructing a simple pole barn at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

Clint and Dana Maddox, superintendents for the Poultry Barn, presented some figures for construction of a 40-foot by 80-foot structure with a roof and open sides to the Putnam County Fair Board on Monday.

The couple estimated the cost around $7,500 to purchase the materials and have it delivered, but said they are interested in quotes from other businesses who could do the job for less.

The Poultry Club now has a little more than $3,100 in its bank account, Maddox said, and they are prepared to give it all toward the project if they have to.

"It's taken the better part of a decade to raise that much," he said.

The barn has been on the list of to-do projects for the fairgrounds for several years, and the Fair Board's long-range plan also lists a few possible sites for the barn.

"If we can get a barn, we're not too picky about where it goes," Maddox told the board.

The annual cost for tent rental and electrical hook-ups for the Poultry Club is about $700. The tent has been erected near the livestock wash racks for several years.

The push for the barn comes as several nine-year and 10-year members of the Poultry Club approach the conclusion of their 4-H careers. Maddox said the club has had several 10-year members complete the project in the last few years, and it would be nice to have a permanent barn for the current and future 4-H'ers to utilize. Poultry is not a large project, but it has loyal members.

"We really want to make this happen," he said.

Some of the Poultry Club families also addressed the board to support the barn project.

Keith Archer said the group wants to see if a barn is a possibility, but if it can't at this time, they understand.

"We have had a lot of 9 and 10-year members move through in the last couple of years. I think they (the club members) are just looking for a committment of whether it's going to happen in the next five or 10 years," Archer said.

Fair Board president Ken Heeke said the long-range plan committee can take another look at the project to see if they can fund the portion of the barn that the club cannot.

"But we need to be careful on how we build it and what we commit to," Heeke said.

He recommended that the executive committee of the Fair Board also review the project to see if it is financially feasible. Those groups will meet April 3.

In other business, the board:

-- Heard dairy feeder steer weigh-in, ear tagging and retinal scanning will be 8-10 a.m. Saturday, April 7 at the south end of the beef barn.

-- Learned sheep ear tagging and retinal scanning will be Saturday, May 5.

-- Was told the application for the four 4-H scholarships are available and are due June 22.

-- Heard that Dixie Chopper donated a new propane lawn mower to the fairgrounds, and fuel for a year will be supplied by Midland CoAlliance.

-- Learned the Indiana State Fair is now set for Aug. 6-17, however, those dates could be extended to include the previous weekend.

-- Noted that 4-H program enrollment forms and livestock enrollment forms are to be turned in by April 2 at the Extension Office.

-- Heard that Clever Collectibles is the category for this year's "Just for Fun" category in the Adult Open Class and "Yesteryear" is the theme for Family Fun Day on the Wednesday of the fair.

-- Set the open swine show June 3 at the fairgrounds.

-- Learned the Sheep Barn is looking for youngsters who have disabilities to participate in the sheep project.

-- Heard an estimated 900 people attended the recent Lawn and Garden Show at the fairgrounds.

-- Approved its 2007 budget.

-- Learned that Verizon would like to have a site on the fairgrounds for a cell phone tower. A survey team may be on the property soon to look for a location.

The next meeting of the fair board is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23 at the community building. The long-range planning committee will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Old National Bank.

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