Darren Hauck for The New York Times
The task of hot-weather pig maintenance.
Some show pigs were skinnier than normal, and some farm children in 4-H brought fewer cows than planned, after families had to shrink their herds under the weight of scalding heat, a dearth of feed and no end in sight.
Across the nation’s middle, it is fair season — the time of year when rural life is on proud display, generations of farm families gather and deep-fried foods are guiltless.
By MONICA DAVEY
Published: August 4, 2012
CEDARBURG, Wis. — The cheese curds were sizzling in vats of oil, the cartoon-colored carnival rides were spinning, and the tractors, ready to pull something heavy, were revving. Yet all was not right last week at the Ozaukee County Fair, age 153.
Inside the barns here, the entries competing for top vegetable and flower were fewer than usual. The rabbits vying for prizes were scarcer, too, said Elaine Diedrich, supervisor of the rabbit tent, as she paced the aisles, ready to submerge overheated animals up to their noses in cold water.
But at county and state fairs across corn country this year, the most widespread drought since the 1950s is also evident. While the fairs are soldiering on, dousing themselves in Lemon Shake-Ups and Midwestern resolve, the hot, dry, endless summer has seeped into even the cheeriest, oldest tradition.