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Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Program Holds Meat Animal Sale

4-H Youth Everett LeBarron sold a pair of market chickens for the first time at the 56th Annual 4-H Meat Animal Sale.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s 4-H Youth Development Program held the 56th Annual 4-H Meat Animal Sale recently online with the help of Peterson Auction and Realty LLC.

When COVID-19 closed the Chautauqua County Fair, the Chautauqua County 4-H Meat Animal Sale Committee voted to move the sale online so youth who had been working hard on their projects would have the opportunity to complete their project and sell their animals.

“I think the sale went really well for the year we’re in because, you know, the [pandemic] has created uncertainty,” said Dave Schauman, 4-H Meat Animal Sale Committee chairman. “Hopefully most of our 4-Hers are happy with what they got and I’m pleased with the money generated for the number of animals we had in the sale. On the whole it went quite well with Mike’s help and all for the input from the office and the committee.”

The sale generated more than $85,000, and 94% of that is returned to the youth. More than $1,000 in donations were made to various 4-H animal projects and the 4-H Endowment held at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Local businesses and longtime 4-H supporters seem to have accepted the change to an online sale. There were also 26 new buyers at this year’s sale. A total of 92 animals were sold at this annual event.

There were no 4-H livestock shows held prior to the 4-H Meat Animal Sale, however all animals were still raised on appropriate feeding plans and of course with the highest level of care. Instead of selling by the pound all sales were by the head, meaning the animal was purchased for a dollar amount that did not depend on the weight of the animal.

The top selling hog was raised by Levi Overend and brought $2,050. Levi’s Yorkshire cross was purchased by C.R. Construction. The average price for the 35 hogs that were auctioned was $890.71.

Steven’s Brothers purchased Holly Crandall’s sought-after steer for $5,250. The average of the nine steers auctioned was $4,367. Corinne Covert raised the top selling market goat which sold for $375 and was purchased by Sunrise Melody Farm. The five 4-H market goats consigned averaged $283.33 per head.

Lake Shore Paving bought Kendall Eckman’s top selling market lamb for $575.00. The 20 market lambs consigned to the auction earned an average price of $407.50. Liam Griffith received the top dollar for his pair of market chickens. Farm Credit Ease ACA purchased Liam’s birds for $450.00. The average price for 22 pairs of market chickens was $214.77.

Rachael Harper, a longtime 4-H member who has participated in many live 4-H Meat Animal Sales said that the sale went decent. Rachael sold a lamb, a hog, and a pair of market chickens this year. She noted that some of her bidders had a hard time bidding online.

“Other than (technical issues), we tried to make sure we broke even,” Harper said.

Youth work hard to raise and market their animal to make a profit. Most youth reinvest their earnings into next year’s project, put it in a college fund, or save for their first car. Harper had to change up her marketing strategy, mailing letters to potential bidders instead of visiting them individually. Overall, she didn’t like the online sale as much as the live auction, but she did mention it had a lot to do with the fact that she wasn’t enjoying a fun and challenging week at the Chautauqua County Fair.

Everett LeBarron has been in 4-H for five years, but this is the first time he has participated in the 4-H Meat Animal Sale. Everett sold a pair of market birds this year and when asked why he decided to raise meat chickens he simply stated that he wanted to see what it was all about. Everett emailed area businesses about the sale and said that two responded to him.

“It was a great experience and it was fun,” Everett said. “I get to learn how to market my animal and learn about animal husbandry and feed.”

Next year Everett has his sights set on raising a hog, however mom and his neighbors aren’t on board with that quite yet.

Both Rachael and Everett hope to participate in next year’s sale and with any luck they’ll be back in the Warren K. Brown show arena mid-July 2021.

Peterson Auction and Realty, LLC has been a longtime supporter of 4-H and helped with this year’s online auction.

For more information on Chautauqua County 4-H visit chautauqua.cce.cornell.edu.

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