What happens to all that animal waste at the county fair?
Kids clean up at the Fair
All kids are responsible for all their animals at the Yavapai County Fair. That includes feeding, watering, and cleaning the stalls, said Kris Mazy, superintendent of the Youth Goat Department. It’s all part of being a conscientious participant in the many animal, poultry and rabbit divisions at the fair.
Mazy’s duties are to oversee the goat pens where several of her eight children have registered their animals in different divisions. She checks the pens every morning and again in the evening.
“Every child has a different time. They have to be here ready to work,” she said.
Grayson Mazy, 9, was setting up the temporary living arrangement for two small kids — baby goats, that is — a light-brown one named Parsley, and a black and white speckled one named Constellation, offspring of a mother named Starry Night. She is showing goats, chickens and rabbits this year.
Her brother, Trystan Fullmer, 11, spread a layer of wood shavings in the pen to make a comfortable bed. Their task every day is to shovel the animals’ waste into a wheelbarrow and transfer the contents to a compost pile. A backhoe scoops the manure into a 22-foot roll-off dumpster provided by the City of Prescott.
“The dumpster goes to the transfer station and then to the landfill out in Dewey with the rest of our municipal solid waste,” explained Mollie Mangerich, Prescott’s Solid Waste superintendent, referring to the Grey Wolf Landfill operated by Waste Management.
The manure, mixed with the shavings or straw, can make good garden compost, although most manure needs a year to age before use. Master Gardeners Marion Johnston and Lori Dekker both said they’d be happy to take some. “Just dump it in my driveway,” Dekker said.
In the past, a farmer apparently offered to take the waste, but the effort took a day and a half to transfer the manure using a small backhoe, said Rosie Darby, general manager. The Fair doesn’t have the manpower or volunteers to do the dumping, she added.
Mazy, co-owner of Kris and Larry Family Farm in Chino Valley, said her children brought 80 different animals to show this year. Some of the goats, which can live up to 10 years, are fourth or fifth generation.
“We’ve had two times more animals entered this year. We added an extra section of swine, and 100 cages for small stock — rabbits and poultries,” she said, adding that 10 turkeys were entered last year, and 30 have been registered this year.
She labels each row with the dairy division and every pen with the entrant’s name to make it easier for children to find their stall. This year, she had help from a county inmate program to set up and take down the pens. A team, or “family,” of about 150 youngsters help keep the show arena clean.
So that’s the scoop on poop at the Yavapai County Fair.
“It can get smelly,” Mazy said with a laugh.