With the county fair season now underway, hundreds of 4-H farm kids will be showing off their animals, going for that blue ribbon, but the intense heat we're enduring has many farm families concerned for their animals well-being, even survival.
The high temperatures have the animal barns on high alert at one county fair.
It's always hot in July, but at the Lawrence County, Ohio fair many say the heat problems have never been this serious or deadly.
There's a record number of animals at the Proctorville Fairgrounds this year, and keeping cool isn't just a passing effort, it's a "keeping the livestock alive" necessity.
On a hot dusty track, spectators and owners were worried about how many pulls would be allowed in the grueling draft horse pull event.
“It was heat stroke that induced brain hemorrhage and she just died. It's the high humidity, these horses are used to be in the barn the get susceptible to heat stroke,” Mike Forbush of Proctorville said.
4-H families were working their cool water sprayers overtime at the swine barn, where fans circulated as did the conflicting story that a hog died here from the heat.
“They said it was not heat stroke but an electrocution from biting thru a fan cord,” Jennifer Owens of Waterloo said.
New this year in these animal barns is a giant fan and tube air circulation system, but the intense heat has 4H'ers like Jonathan Lambert and many others cooling watering, fanning and doing everything possible to relieve animal stress.
“They get stressed out and don't respond. You just have to give them love and attention, make them feel at home,” 4-H student Jonathan Lambert said.
What’s challenging for these young keepers is that the fairgrounds animal stalls for the most part are much smaller than their stalls at home.
That makes for tighter quarters and that produces more heat.
John Marra said animal stress can be as bad or worse than human stress, so 4-H kids and parents must keep giving out plenty of cool drinking water, spraying the animals, and keep the air circulating as much as possible and that goes for household pets as well.