Page 61 - Discover Magazine 2019
P. 61

      Even milking machines have become high-tech, using robotics to put the cows in charge of their own milking schedules and freeing up time for dairy farmers. Gentle robotic brushes clean the teats and stimulate milk flow, making cows more efficient and ultimately, happier.
Anyone with cattle or other livestock can now use cell phone applications to track weight, food consumption, pregnancies, and infections in the herd. The once painstaking gathering of data is made easier by tagging each cow with a computer chip instead of a branding iron.
Farmers need not venture far to get the latest technology. Koenig Equipment in Botkins is a farm implement dealer that sells everything – combines, tractors, hay equipment, and sprayers, as well as equipment for planting and seeding. They also supply parts and service, and are committed to educating their customers in the precision agriculture that uses the newest technologies for running equipment, gathering data, and managing today’s farm.
Traditional farm animals are not the only creatures that have found a home here. Shelby County has six alpaca farms including Count Your Blessings Alpaca on Doorley Road. It turns out that the climate here is similar to that of the Andes Mountains of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile where alpacas thrive. Raised for their fleece that is as soft as cashmere and eight times warmer than wool, alpacas are gentle and enjoyable
©Abigail Johnson
animals. Each September, Count Your Blessings hosts an Alpaca Farm Days weekend.
Given the scope of agriculture in Shelby County, it
is not surprising that there are FFA clubs in many county schools and almost 1,000 area youth involved in 4-H. Under the jurisdiction of the Ohio State University Extension Office, 4-H is a year-round activity that has its high point
at the Shelby County Fair. Members of the Shelby County Junior Fair Board develop important leadership skills while organizing the Junior Fair each July. Youngsters not only show animals, but also enter projects in such diverse areas
as art, clothing design and sewing, photography, cooking and baking, electronics, robotics, and other science-related topics.
Organizers of 4-H stress its importance in helping sustain interest and vitality in the agriculture of Shelby County for years to come. Although some youth involved
in 4-H will pursue other careers, many are the farmers
of tomorrow who are learning about handling animals, preventing disease, respecting the land and the environment, and using new agricultural technologies.
After 4-H, the Shelby County branch of the Ohio Farm Bureau invites young adults interested in improving the business of farming to join its Young Ag Professionals to learn and develop leadership skills. 59

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