The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Hay Show tonight to raise scholarship money for students.

“It's really neat because these funds and scholarships are given to kids that are in the agriculture field,” Peggy Renfro, president of the chamber, said.

The event will be held at the Cherokee County Exposition Center on Loop 456, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will begin with dinner catered by Stacy's Barbeque in Jacksonville, with the hay auction starting at 7 p.m.

Renfro said about six weeks ago notifications were sent out to local hay producers. Samples of each were taken and sent to Stephen F. Austin University to be analyzed for their nutritional content.

“They will be ranked accordingly based on the protein test and auctioned off highest to lowest,” said Aaron Low, Hay show committee member and AgriLife Extension agent for Cherokee County.

Low said local students will also judge the hay visually, but the visual inspection is secondary to the lab tests.

A total of 30 bails will be sold.

“The kids come and judge the hay, and we will give awards for the top three teams and the two individual high points,” Low said.

In recent years this event has raised between $15,000 and $23,000 in the one hour of auctioning, Renfro said.

This year's drought affected the availability of hay for the event, Roland Adams, co-chairman of the Hay Show said.

Adams said about 150 people are expected to attend this year.

Proceeds will be split three ways, Renfro said, but each organization will use the funds for scholarships. Half will go to the Chamber's AgriBusiness Committee, a fourth to the Cherokee County Exposition Center and the final quarter to Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation.

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