Livestock sale boosts 4-H’ers

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Bob Johnson
Leon Thompson, above, calls for bids during Thursday evening’s 4-H and FFA Lions Club Livestock Premium Auction at the Allen County Fair. Looking on is Extension Agent Carla Nemecek. At left, Taylyn Wells of Logan Pals 4-H Club shows her Angus breed champion to prospective buyers. Below, Kim Beecher photographs her daughter, Dallyn Beecher of Square B 4-H Club, when she put her grand champion steer up for sale.

The 2009 Allen County Fair was a lucrative one for 72 Allen County 4-H’ers Thursday.
The annual Allen County 4-H and FFA Lions Club Livestock Premium Auction brought in a combined $48,075 in premiums from local buyers and special contributions courtesy of the Allen County 4-H Livestock Boosters through the volunteer efforts of local auctioneers Leon and Kent Thompson, Jack Franklin and Ralph Smith.
The Thompsons and Franklin took turns calling while Smith, who organized the first fair sale in 1954, watched for bids. Several Lions Club members helped catch bids, log sales, hand out free bottles of water and otherwise help.
The animals brought in an average of $667 apiece. The premiums — money above each animal’s base bid — are a perk for 4-H members who have worked feverishly up to the fair.
Buyers had three options:
— Letting young sellers keep their animals, in which case the purchaser paid only the premium;
— Taking possession of the animal, to be butchered or whatever, and paying the base bid plus premium;
— Or letting the animal go to market and pay just the premium. In that case, the base bid is paid by a professional packer.
The base bid for steers at Thursday’s sale was 76 cents a pound. Swine sold for 37.5 cents a pound and sheep fetched 85 cents a pound.
A fourth species was added for the first time at Thursday’s sale: meat goats. Four goats were sold for a combined $1,450 in premiums.
Adding to the coffers for many sellers was the Boosters program.
“The Boosters is really an outstanding program because it allows us to bump up the premiums for some kids who may need a little extra help,” explained Allen County Extension agent Carla Nemecek. “It lets folks who want to contribute but aren’t necessarily set on supporting a specific individual a way to do so.”
The program also allows local residents who may not be able to afford the cost of an animal a way to support 4-H youth, Nemecek said.
“We’ve gotten donations of as little as $10 to much higher amounts,” Nemecek said. “They’ll usually give us a donation and say ‘Just do with it what you want.’ Every donation is appreciated.”
The Boosters ensured all 22 steer had premiums of $800. The boosters set minimum premiums for the 30 swine and 17 sheep at $500 apiece.
The Boosters chipped in a total of $3,425.
The steers, buoyed by a $3,000 premium for the grand champion sold by Dallyn Beecher, fetched an average of $813.64 in premiums. Average premium per swine was $557.50. Sheep fetched an average of $530.88, and goat premiums averaged $483.33.