Sept. 4, 2006

DC girl works at State Fair's Miracle of Birth building

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Dassel-Cokato’s own Pam Dahlman was lucky enough to work at a new birthing building at the State Fair and receive recognition on the local news stations.

Dahlman spent five days working at the Cenex Harvest States Miracle of Birth Center at the Minnesota State Fair last week.

The CHS center gives fair goers the opportunity to see farm animals giving birth, she explained.

There are different areas set up throughout the center where veterinarians assist in the birthing process. Bleachers are placed throughout the barn so people can watch the births take place.

Some of the animals featured at the birthing center are cows, pigs, sheep, chicks, and horses.

Because Dahlman is a MN state FFA officer, she was able to assist with the CHS center and the FFA Chapter House and Leadership Center at the fair.

The Chapter House connected to the Miracle of Birth center is also new to the fair this year which allows fairgoers to learn about Minnesota FFA history.

Dahlman’s FFA jacket is even on the female mannequin at the center to model the official FFA dress code.

“I felt pretty famous,” she said.

The connected building is the largest new building to be built at the fairgrounds since the 1960s, according to Dahlman.

The $1.5 million building was paid for by state businesses and sponsors alone, Dahlman explained.

The DC FFA chapter contributed $1,000 to the new building as well, and by doing that, they received a stone representing the DC FFA at the fair, according to Dahlman.

The money was provided by fundraising done by the chapter throughout the school year, she said.

The old Miracle of Birth building had brought in an estimated half-million people each day of the fair.

The new building is 3 and a half times larger and can hold more fairgoers in one day.

“I like how much bigger it is,” Dahlman said.

“More people are able to see the miracle of birth,” she added.

There are three different groups working in the building throughout the fair.

The first group are the FFA and state officers help facilitate throughout the two centers. FFA members can apply to work in the barn yard.

The second group consists of members from the Minnesota Veterinary Association and the University of Minnesota Veterinary School where the senior veterinary students receive hands-on experience with the animals, Dahlman explained.

Dahlman, being a state officer, worked in the barn with the animals and showing them to fair goers, but her main duty was working in the chapter house teaching fairgoers about the FFA organization and answering questions about the two centers.

“It was very beneficial for me to meet the other state FFA members throughout the state,” Dahlman said.

“Also, being able to teach people about the importance of animal agriculture,” she added.

As a state officer, Dahlman also had the opportunity to work with the outside media at the fair.

Dahlman was featured on WCCO’s Channel 4, KSTP Channel 5, and KARE 11, promoting the center and the newborn animals in the building.

Dahlman was able to learn a lot more about animals, she said.

Growing up on a crop farm, she didn’t have the experience with livestock. This enabled Dahlman to learn about all the different species and their development process.

For example, a lamb weighs 8 to 9 pounds at birth, but within two years, they can grow up to 250 pounds, Dahlman said.

Dahlman hopes to become a state officer next year as well, so she can have the opportunity to work at the center again.

“Everybody at the center works long and hard hours, but the payoff is worth it because of what you are able to teach to visitors,” Dahlman said.

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