Feb. 16, 2004 — One thing is certain: People on St. Croix really love livestock.
"I just had to come and see the cows and other livestock. I like it as much as my children do," one St. Croix resident said. The center of his attention? A 3-and-a-half-year-old senior Senepol bull weighing in at 1,760 pounds.
The Hans Lawaetz Livestock Pavilion on the north side of the Agricultural and Food Fair is the temporary home for dozens of cattle, goats, sheep, chicken, pigeons, pigs, turkeys, parrots, cockatiels, lovebirds and other four- and two-footed animals.
The livestock pavilion is named in honor of Hans Lawaetz. Annaly Farms, owned by the Lawaetz family, is the primary producer of Senepol beef. For more than 20 years the grass-fed, hormone-free beef has been exported to over 22 states on the mainland and countries including Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, Mexico and Zimbabwe. The Castle Nugent farm and Corn Hill farm also produce Senepol cattle. The breed, revered for its tender beef, has now gone global and can be found on almost every continent.
Another claim to fame for St. Croix is the milk-producing Holstein cattle. This breed of dairy cattle has earned St. Croix the distinction of being one of the only self-sufficient milk-producing islands in the Caribbean. Henry Nelthrop of Corn Hill Dairies, along with the Windsor and Sight farms, sends milk every morning to the production plant at Island Dairies in Sion Farm. The plant also produces fresh cream, ice cream and island juices.
Something for the children
This year's petting zoo at the pavilion is a big hit with the children. Operated by Lawrence T. Boschulte of Solberg Farm on St. Thomas, the petting zoo offers Shetland pony rides and baby pigs, goats, rabbits and chicks for the children to hold and pet. "I have been coming to the fair for three years, bringing my animals from St. Thomas," Boschulte said. "I love animals, but I miss out on seeing the rest of the fair because I have to watch my animals."
Becky Essanson, age 5, and her 4-year-old brother, Calvin Brannigan, went excitedly from cage to cage looking at all the livestock, while mom Chanie Lang Brannigan kept an eye on the children. "The babies like their mothers' milk; they think it ís the best," Becky said.
Jose Garcia and Ejnar Johnson of J & J Farms displayed their king homing pigeons, ring neck doves, rabbits and doves. "We will sell some of our birds on the last day of the fair," Garcia said.
Fairgoer Samuel Sones says he just loves rabbits. He and his wife, Jeanetta, have been raising rabbits for two years. "It's lots of work, cleaning up the cages, feeding and giving them medicine, but we just love them," he said.
Judging from the smiles on nearby children's faces, it was clear the Soneses were not alone in their admiration.
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