Kentucky, with its ever-increasing interest in purebred livestock, offers purebred cattle breeders one of the most unique and effective state-supported promotional events ever developed- the Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo. This year marks the 23rd Annual Expo, which is held the first weekend in March, at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. This may only be the 23rd year of the expo, but looking back at previous years, it is found the Kentucky Beef Expo has much more history than its state supported start in 1987.
Originally the Expo began as Kentucky Angus Sweepstakes in 1947. Several breeders decided to come together in one location and promote the Angus breed of beef cattle. The Sweepstakes began as a two-day event, with bulls showing and selling on the first day and heifers on the second, and attracted well over 100 head of Registered Angus. Shorthorn and Polled Hereford breeds, about 12 years later, started their own two-day separate sales on consecutive weekends following the Kentucky Angus Sweepstakes at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. A few years later the Continental influence was introduced, thus creating more breeds and opportunities for purebred sales. It was then decided for all breeds to combine, which would also help reduce consignor's cost, and originate the Kentucky Beef Expo in 1987. To make the expo a smooth functioning event, a Kentucky Beef Expo Board was formed with 2 representatives from each breed, 2 representatives from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and 1 representative from the Kentucky Cattleman's Association. It was then determined the expo would continue to be held each year at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center due to the top quality facility for conducting livestock shows and sales.
Currently, there are 11 breed shows and sales including Angus, Beefalo, Charolais, Chiangus, Limousin, Polled Hereford, Red Angus, Red Poll, Salers, Shorthorn and Simmental. Many excellent cow families have been developed over the history of the Kentucky Beef Expo. These genetics have proved themselves not only in the pastures but also the show ring. Many donor cows and herd bulls have been purchased from the Kentucky Beef Expo. In addition to the 11 halter breed shows and sales mentioned above, nine years ago the Kentucky Beef Expo began the All Breeds Pen Heifer Show and Sale. The Pen Heifer Show and Sale offers beef cattle producers the opportunity to market they're registered and commercial cattle in (non-haltered) pens of two or three head.
One aspect, which sets the Kentucky Farm Bureau Expo apart from any other Beef Expo, is the involvement of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Legislature by KRS 302 KAR 15-030. For each breed show and sale $4,000, from KRS 302 KAR 15-030, is given to each breed for premiums. The $4,000 is then matched by each breed, in the form of entry fees, with a total of $8,000 in premiums awarded for each breed show. Another $2,000 is dispersed to each breed for reimbursement advertising cost and other catalog preparation. Providing financial assistance for a show and sale of each of the major beef breeds, the Commonwealth is making known its interest in the beef cattle industry as well as its importance to the state and nation. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture also works closely with the Kentucky Beef Expo Board in promoting, advertising, and coordinating the event. Without the strong support of the state and dedicated Board Members, the Kentucky Beef Expo would not be a continuing success as it has over the past 23 years.
For any occasion to be a continuing success it must grow in order to keep the buyer, seller, and spectator interested and coming back for more. The Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo has done just that over the past several years. The Expo has offered more excitement, variety, and educational activities for anyone who attends. These activities include a Cattle Judging Contest for 4-H/FFA members, Trade Show and Junior Jackpot Steer and Heifer Show. Since the origination of the Kentucky Beef Expo this has been the whole intent--offer more variety and a bigger more exciting expo for both the buyer and the seller while showcasing Kentucky Beef Cattle and allowing buyers to shop around and compare breeds along with prices.
With the success of the Beef Expo, it takes continued support from sponsors to ensure this to be a successful event. In 2007, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation became the exclusive sponsor for the Beef Expo. With history in the making, this event became the Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo. As you can see, this event has developed into something that all cattle producers in Kentucky can be proud of. We welcome Kentucky Farm Bureau as our corporate sponsor!
Instead of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo being a plain old ordinary show, it is now an exhilarating event, where buyers and sellers of purebred livestock find the Bluegrass State a congenial atmosphere in which to meet and market purebred livestock!