Judge Mark Johnson selects Noelle Loller’s Dorset Advantage yearling ewe as the Grand Champion Ewe during the Championship Sheep Show at the 2019 Madison County 4-H Fair.

ANDERSON — The Madison County 4-H Association board of directors voted to attempt live judging for livestock exhibits this summer.

The announcement was shared on the Madison County Purdue Extension’s Facebook page.

“The truth is, we are treading where no one has trod before,” said Gary Simmons, County Extension director and educator, as he closed the post thanking 4-H’ers for their patience, understanding and cooperation.

The Purdue Extension has banned all face-to-face events through June 30, but announced on May 15 that local 4-H boards could decide to hold live events in July if they complied with new safety standards designed in response to the pandemic.

Longtime sponsor of the 4-H Fair, the Alexandria Kiwanis, voted unanimously to not hold a fair this summer. This will be the first summer without a fair since it was canceled in 1949 due to a polio epidemic in Indiana.

Live judging is contingent on approval by the state director of Extension of a COVID-19 safety plan for the event, and the county being in Stage 5 of Indiana’s Back on Track plan.

Any 4-H’er not comfortable participating in the live event will be allowed to participate in a virtual one.

Only one species will be judged each day, and only immediate family members will be allowed to attend.

No animals will be allowed to stay overnight at the fairgrounds.

There will be no Mini 4-H livestock exhibit, and cat, dog and llama judging will be virtual.

Projects normally displayed in the exhibit hall will be dropped off in a drive-thru to be judged without 4-H’ers or spectators.

Follow Don Knight on Twitter @donwknight, or call 765-622-1212 ext. 204567.

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