Bonnie Ayars thinks people can learn a lot from cows.

"They really teach us how we need to be," she said. "They're not demanding. They're creatures of habit and won't ask for anything extra."

Ayars is a dairy program specialist at Ohio State University and also has a family farm in Mechanicsburg. But right now, she's spending 10 days lovingly caring for other people's dairy cows. She oversees the milk parlor at the Ohio State Fair, where each cow visits a couple times a day.

Ayars, 68, has worked with dairy cows at the fair for more than 50 years.

This year, she's working with parlor manager April Frye to make sure all the cows are milked when they need it. Yesterday, the State Fair cows gave about 10,000 pounds of milk.

Ayars and Frye are especially busy after the cows are shown at competitions. The cows aren't milked until after the show, because the exhibitors want the udders to be nice and full for the judges. Then, the milking parlor is the first stop.

Ayars enjoys getting to know the cows.

"They really have personality. Some of them are aggressive eaters, some are bullies and some are divas," she said.

Ayars was raised on a farm. At the fair, she honed her eye for cows more and more, first as a child exhibitor and now as a supervisor in the milk parlor.

If there's a bovine problem at the fair, Ayars is the go-to woman. She deals with everything from leaky hoses in the milking parlor to cows giving birth.

Another part of Ayers' work is teaching. In her informal lessons with junior competitors at the fair, she hopes to create the same passion she has for dairy farming.

By paying attention to the ways cows interact with each other and how they approach their daily routine, Ayars has developed a cow-based philosophy.

"Cows ... judge by personality," she said. "If one cow is being rude and causing problems for the other ones, then the other cows will bully the mean cow."

But more often than not, bovine are sweet and gentle, she said, only acting out when their basic needs are neglected.