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Morrisville State professor selected to judge rabbits in Malaysia

MORRISVILLE, NY— Morrisville State professor Corey Hayes’ fascination with rabbits is taking him out of the classroom and into an overseas adventure.

The rabbit hobbyist and assistant professor of agricultural business management, has been selected to be a judge at the third Malaysian American Rabbit Breeders Association (MARBA) National Rabbit Show April 12, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“An experience like this allows you to grow as a person and I am looking forward to this opportunity,” said the Oneida resident about his trip to Southeast Asia.

Officially joining the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1999, Hayes has been actively breeding and raising rabbits for more than two decades.

Growing up on a family dairy farm in Canton, animals and agriculture played a significant role in Hayes’ life, but it was a pair of cotton-tailed pets given to him and his brother when he was 5 that would develop his affinity toward rabbits.

At a time when most kids his age were exploring comic books, Hayes was thumbing through the farm and garden section of the local swap sheet, seeking animals for sale. He purchased his first pedigree French Lop with money he earned doing odd jobs and started showing pedigree rabbits competitively by the time he was 8.

“It was an easy hobby as a kid because they didn’t take up much room and they were relatively inexpensive,” he said. And as his interest took hold, so did his desire to breed and show his own herd.

Today he is co-owner of Hay-Mou Rabbitry, located northern New York, a business he runs with longtime friend Casey Mouthorp. The two maintain a herd of 100 rabbits including Mini Rex, English Spots and American Fuzz Lops. Hayes also raises Dorset sheep.

A lifelong goal, Hayes earned his license to judge rabbits last year and has been judging all over the country.

While he has raised numerous breeds throughout his lifetime, Hayes is partial to the Mini Rex. “I’m not sure if it is the striking look of the animal or the therapeutic feel you get when you run your hands over a perfectly primed coat just before putting your animal on the show table,” he said.

His life has been devoted to improving standards and quality in the industry. “We have worked diligently to improve the Mini Rex breed,” said Hayes about Hay-Mou Rabbitry. “We strive for perfection and work hard on our breeding program.”

A collection of trophies attest to the fact that they have done well in the show circuit as reputable breeders. Last year, they represented at the ARBA Convention with top 10 and top five placings in Solids Sr. Does, Broken Sr. Does, and Broken Jr. Does.

In Malaysia, Hayes will be judging different breeds at the open, all-breed ARBA-sanctioned show. Each breed has a different standard for judging, he explained.

He plans to utilize his experience to open doors in his classroom where he strives to instill critical thinking in his students.

“Being introduced to a new culture will also enlighten my students,” said Hayes, who plans to talk to various farmers, get their perspective on agriculture and use it in classroom discussions.

Active in the industry, Hayes serves as president of the NYS Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association, District 7 director for the National Mini Rex Rabbit Club and is vice president of the Northern Lites Rabbit Breeders Association.

Hayes earned an associate degree in agricultural business and a bachelor’s degree in equine science, both from Morrisville State, and a master’s degree in education from SUNY at Oswego.

Morrisville State sets the world in motion for students. Curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Education Service Honor Roll. The college was recognized, by U.S. News and World Report, in its top tier Best Regional Colleges list and ranked second among regional colleges nationwide for outperforming its anticipated graduation rate. Visit to experience, Morrisville in motion.