MOUNT VERNON — One of the main features of the Knox County Fair is the livestock facilities and ways in which the various kinds of animals are shown and sold. The first full day of the fair activities had the Sheep Showmanship exhibition in the multi-purpose building with teens and younger children showing their animals in a competitive atmosphere.
The lambs being shown during the festivities Sunday were all less than a year old and the intent is to sell them for meat.
According to Rick Reynolds of United Producers, the lambs in the show were all the optimal size and age for the ultimate goal.
“Most of the lambs right now are probably in that five, six to seven-month age,” Reynolds said. “For a finished lamb weighing around 125 pounds, he should hit somewhere between that five and six month range.”
Reynolds, who had his grandson Mason competing in the same show in the nine-year-old categories, explained the different ways to feed and raise the lambs in order to get different results at market.
“There are grass-fed lambs. Some people in the industry like grass-fed only,” Reynolds said. “Most of these lambs here, they have been on creep probably since they were born. After they were weaned off and they stayed on a dry mixed feed all through their life with some hay.”
Then after the show at the Knox County Fair and sometimes at fairs such as the Ohio State Fair, the lambs are sent off to market and, according to Reynolds, they go to the same general area.
“A lot of the lambs in Ohio area end up in the eastern part (of the United States) like in Philadelphia, New York City,” Reynolds said. “That’s where a lot of our lamb product goes.”
Reynolds went on to say that those cities have a higher concentration of people who eat lamb more frequently but the popularity is increasing around Ohio also. He explained that there are also types of lamb for specific holidays and groups.
“With the different ethnic groups, there are hothouse lambs, there’s Finnish lambs, there’s grass-fed lambs. There are Muslim holidays, Greek holidays, Jewish holidays, then your restaurant trade, the cruise ship trade, so it just depends on where that lamb’s going and what time he’s processed,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said that he and his family participated in the Knox County Fair and then will go immediately to the Ohio State Fair where the Lamb Show starts on Tuesday.
Adam Reynolds, son of Rick and father of Mason, won the Grand Champion award for lambs at the Knox County Fair in 1999 and 2000 and has won breed champion several times at the Ohio State Fair. Rick has had champions when he was showing lambs at the Loudonville Street Fair decades ago when he was participating.