60-year fair tradition for Ellis
FAIRBURY – Terry Ellis from Gifford in Champaign County has been visiting the Fairbury Fair for over 60 years.
“It’s a great fair,” Ellis said from the dairy barn Wednesday morning.
Ellis has spent plenty of time on the grounds with his family and cattle over the years and considers Fairbury a clean fair with good facilities. Terry and his wife, Eleanor, have six grandchildren and a great grandchild.
“We show cattle quite a bit off and on,” notes Ellis.
They usually make 10 to 15 fairs a year with the Brown Swiss breed.
Agriculture in general is typically considered a tight-knit community and you could say the same of the dairy industry where most everyone knows your name or where you are from.
Members of the Harms family have been superintendents of the Fairbury Fair dairy show for many years – something Ellis appreciates.
“Karen and Norman (Harms) are great people,” said Ellis. “They’re all involved and it makes this show go.”
Though Ellis still milks a few cows, he does not sell any milk currently.
“We feed it to calves and raise show heifers and cattle to sell.”
Ellis sells quite a few cattle each year and advertises them by showing and winning at fairs resulting in people buying them. They export some too. He admits it is a tough time for those involved in milk production currently.
“The margin on the milk is so tight, the expenses are so much and the labor is really a big problem,” explained Ellis.
While the industry has changed in the past decade, Ellis expects it to change more in the coming years.