It was early in the day and Marina Sweet had just locked up her latest award: first place in showmanship in her age group in poultry.
Sweet, 17, is a student at Ohio State University and she was able to compete in 4-H competition at the Madison County Fair one last time.
No birds were able to be present in the poultry pavilion because of the avian flu threat.
While the statewide ban on poultry at county fairs gave the shows much less plumage, Sweet concedes keeping the birds at home was a good move overall for the industry.
“It’s important we don’t have it here for the sake of the industry,” Sweet said. “We must protect the flocks.”
Sweet said Ohio is the second-largest producer of eggs in the nation, so protecting those laying hens is paramount.
“We’re making the best of it,” Sweet said of the poultry competitors.
She competes with “fancy” fowl, which includes Wyandottes, Jersey Giant and Orpington. While they were home in the coop, she answered questions posed by poultry judges.
In addition she created a poster about her birds, complete with photos and graphic elements.
Sweet shows numerous livestock at the Madison County Fair. Add to the birds, goats, a dairy heifer and a hog. The 4-H projects stand as good hands-on training for her goal in life: to be a veterinarian with a specialty in food animal medicine.
She lauds 4-H for making her the person she is today.
The multiple winner of Madison County’s Showman of Showmen said not only has the program guided her to her career path, she has become more confident and more comfortable in public speaking.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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