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Junior livestock sale ends strong

Article Date: 
10 August, 2012 (All day)

After months of feeding and caring for their animals, over 160 hard working kids were able to sell their animals to generous and eager buyers.  The junior livestock show and sale are the final event of a program encouraging youth to raise and care for livestock animals.  The annual event allows kids to take responsibility for their animals and learn how a business is run.   
The results of the 2012 Morgan County Fair junior livestock show are as follows: Grand champion steer was raised by Eli Porter.  Grand reserve steer was raised by Marcie Stapley.  Grand champion hog was raised by Chase Peterson.  Grand reserve hog was raised by Sage Francis. Grand champion lamb was raised by Brinlee Wixom. Grand reserve lamb was raised by Cassidee Lish.
The sale is always an exciting event led by a professional auctioneer.  It will be hard for those involved to forget the sale of Brinlee Wixom’s grand champion lamb.  Her grandfather had come to the show with the intention of buying this animal; however, a sheep producer from Spanish Fork intended on purchasing the grand champion lamb.  They soon began a bidding war and the price soared to $7,200, where the patriarch showed he wouldn’t lose and grandpa won the bid.  The out of town sheep producer regularly visits sales like these to encourage young sheep raisers to stay in the business.  Inspiration may have come to these kids with the amazing amount the grand champion sold for.  The grand reserve lamb was sold to this man for an unheard of $4,500.
“The sale was really strong, especially in this economy,” Mynon Deru, chairman of the Morgan County junior livestock committee said as the totals for Saturday’s sales were still being tallied. “I continue to be amazed at how generous people are.”
Another area of judging at the show is fitting and showing.  “This is really important too because it depends on how you yourself do,” Deru said.  This is based on how well the kids prepare their animal to be shown and how well they show it.  The competition is divided into three age groups: 3rd-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade.  
The junior livestock program offers activities to youth who are interested in livestock.  A workshop held every May demonstrates different aspects of livestock ownership.  Here they learn about nutrition, meat cuts, and record books. Through the required record books, the 4-H members can determine for themselves if they made money or lost money.  “This helps prepare kids for the real world,” Deru said of the mandatory accounting. “We want to raise winners for kids, not winners for animals,” she explained.  “The focus is to provide experiences that help these youth develop leadership, citizenship, self esteem, social skills and to become contributing members of society, as well as becoming better livestock men and women,” The 4-H website explains.  
 The sale and program are operated by a small commission the junior livestock received from each sale.  Sheep and hogs bring a 6 percent commission while steers bring a 4 percent commission.
All Morgan residents are encouraged to participate.  The junior livestock show and sale are part of the 4-H program and follow their guidelines.  Participants must be at least 8 years old by Oct. 1, of the current 4-H year.  Members are in 3rd grade through 12th grade.  In order to participate in the sale, the animal needs to have been shown at one of two qualifying shows.  However, previous animal experience is not requisite to participate.  
Deru suggests that people who are interested in raising animals for the annual event that are new to the concept should start with a lamb.  These wooly quadrupeds require care for 2-3 months, which make them a perfect summer project for many local kids.  Hogs take 4-5 months to ensure they are ready for the sale.  Steers necessitate the most work and take around 10 months of upkeep.  
“I believe animals are good for kids to work with,” Ray Little, who has been involved with the program and teaching children for years, said.  “It helps kids and parents work together.”  Little and Deru love to see parent and child cooperation and encourage everyone to find something they can do together.