By Linda Kor
One of the highlights of the Navajo County Fair is the 4-H/FFA Junior Livestock Show & Auction, which will be held on Friday Sept. 12. The youth involved in 4-H and FFA work hard all year to set goals for their project, learn the skills and dedication it takes to make the project successful, and then market their project for the auction.
“These kids from age 9 on up are required to have a record book of their expenses for their project and keep a log of what they learned from the beginning until auction,” explained Paul Van Zelf, director of the Junior Livestock Show & Auction.
Market animals include swine, steers, lambs, goats and, new this year, dairy goats. Taking part as a buyer at the auction means that you not only buy quality meat, but also help youth in Navajo County learn and understand business skills.
According to Van Zelf, the youth start their projects in May and have to work hard to prepare the animals for market, learning valuable skills of responsibility, finance and dedication.
“It’s an investment for these kids. They sell their animal and sometimes make enough profit to invest into their next animal,” he said, adding that expenses such as equipment, food and possible vet bills have to be accounted for as well.
Due to the expenses involved, the selling of the animal can determine whether the youth can continue to have a project from year to year. “A big part of this program is the sponsors. The businesses and people that support these kids show a real investment in our future,” said Van Zelf.
Those who buy the animals can include individuals and businesses, or perhaps families and friends who each pitch in and divide the meat once it’s processed.
Taking part in the auction is simple. Buyers show up at the fairgrounds in Holbrook at 10 a.m. as the Junior Livestock barbecue begins, giving buyers an opportunity to visit with the exhibitors and look over the animals. They get a number and sale catalog, then at 1 p.m. the opening ceremonies begin, followed by the auction.
The bids are in dollars and cents per pound, except for lambs and goats, which are by the head. Once an animal is purchased, it must be paid for in full at the auction using cash, check or credit card. After the purchase is paid for, the buyer chooses a processor and the livestock committee will arrange transportation of the animal for the buyer.
For those unable to attend the auction who want to bid on an animal, absentee forms are available from one of the clerks or from an exhibitor.
To understand how much meat a market animal will produce, a 1,200-pound steer will yield about 600 pounds of steaks, roasts, ground meat, stew meat and other cuts. A 105-pound lamb or goat will yield at least 63 pounds of legs, shoulders, chops, ground meat and other cuts. A 250-pound swine will yield about 150 pounds of hams, chops, shoulder cuts, sausage, ground meat, ribs and other cuts.
For more information, contact auction clerks Gayle Gouker at (928) 205-8111 or Kayde Wilkens at (602) 463-1736.