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MARYSVILLE, OH -- The Best of the Buckeye Program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair, is gearing up for its fifth season.

The program provides Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, creates a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige, and attracts new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair. Breeders are encouraged to request a Best of the Buckeye logo for use in printed and digital promotion of Best of the Buckeye eligible cattle. Email beef@ohiobeef.org to request the logo.

The Best of the Buckeye program will offer scholarship opportunities for Best of the Buckeye participants to offset the cost of purchasing, raising and exhibiting a Best of the Buckeye nominated calf. Scholarships will be awarded to less-experienced participants, ages 8-21, with consideration given to the applicant’s financial need. Scholarship applications can be found at www.ohiocattle.org/Youth/best-of-the-buckeye and will be due on January 15, 2017. Scholarship recipients will be notified in February 2017.

Academic scholarships will be offered to youth pursuing a post-high school degree. Scholarships will be based on academics and extracurricular activities. Eligible Best of the Buckeye participants are high school juniors through 21 years of age as of January 1, 2017. Academic scholarships will be awarded to participants pursuing an Ag related degree and may be awarded to applicants who are entering a non-Ag related field of study (based on the number of applications). All scholarship applicants will also be required to submit an essay along with their scholarship application. The scholarship essay topic will be predetermined and posted on the OCA website. The scholarship deadline will be June 15, 2017 and scholarships will be presented at the Ohio State Fair.

The Best of the Buckeye program will recognize top-placing Ohio bred, born and registered calves, along with the breeder and exhibitor, in each breed division at the two shows. Thanks to generous sponsors, $30,000 will be given through premiums at each show, scholarships and awards. This year’s sponsors are Garwood Cattle Company, LLC., heifer division; Jones Show Cattle and R.D. Jones Excavating, steer division; and Ohio Ag Equipment and Ohio CAT, scholarship division.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is a non-profit membership organization that represents the business interests and way of life important to farm families that raise cattle. It serves as the voice and issues manager for all of Ohio’s beef cattle business including cattle breeders, producers and feeders. It is the beef industry’s grassroots policy development organization and is an affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association strives to maintain profitability and growth of Ohio's beef industry, while providing consumers with safe and wholesome beef.

For cattle to be eligible for the Best of the Buckeye program, they must be registered and bred by an Ohio cattleman and born in state. ET Calves and calves out of purchased bred cows are eligible if they were born in Ohio and list an Ohio cattleman as the breeder. Breeders and exhibitors must be OCA members and in good standing with OCA to be eligible. Exhibitors must be Ohio residents and meet the age requirements for the Ohio Beef Expo and Ohio State Fair junior shows.

To participate in Best of the Buckeye, breeders must complete a nomination form (each form can be used to nominate up to five animals from the same breeder) and sign an affidavit verifying Best of the Buckeye eligibility. New in 2017, all nominating Best of the Buckeye breeders will be placed into a drawing for a new generator. The drawing will take place at the 2017 Ohio State Fair. Breeders will earn one ticket into the drawing for each nomination into the program. The breeder or exhibitor may submit the nomination forms and fee for the Best of the Buckeye nominations. Cattle that are nominated prior to the Ohio Beef Expo by March 1, 2017 and prior to the Ohio State Fair by June 20, 2017 will incur a $25 per head nomination fee per show. Cattle may be nominated for both shows by March 1, 2017 for a rate of $40. Breeders will have the opportunity to nominate cattle through check-in at the Ohio Beef Expo and at the Ohio State Fair at an increased late nomination fee of $75 per head.

Best of the Buckeye exhibitor rules, last year’s show results and additional nomination details are available at www.ohiocattle.org/Youth/best-of-the-buckeye or by contacting the OCA office. For more information, contact the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association at 614-873-6736, email beef@ohiobeef.org.

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