More than fair value: Youth livestock auction sees sales soar

The Dickinson County Fair hosted a successful youth livestock auction, raising more than $137,000 for its 4-H participants. At the podium, auctioneer Dave Schwartz calls out bids for Dante Stachowicz’s hog during the youth market livestock auction. From left are Dean Larson, Dave Bal and Chris Jacobs. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo)

NORWAY — Dickinson County youth worked hard year-round raising project animals, all pointing toward the fair’s youth livestock auction.

That dedication paid off for exhibitors as a large crowd of prospective buyers bid on their prized animals.

Those 45 program participants raised a total of more than $137,000 with their small animal and market livestock projects.

“The auction was very successful — I believe they had a record sale,” Dickinson County Fair Board President John Degenaer Jr. said.

Natalie Ciantar, superintendent for the youth market livestock for the past five years, agreed it was a great year for the sale.

“Last year’s auction raised $127,000, showing the same number of animals,” she said. “The addition of the small animals to the auction helped with sale totals.”

They saw more bidders, which helped to drive up prices as well, Ciantar added.

Steer, goats, hogs and lambs were sold per pound at the market auction, while the small animals — rabbits, turkeys, chickens, as well as eggs — were sold by lot.

The livestock youth market show had 56 animals — six steers, 16 goats, 12 lambs and 22 hogs — that accounted for more than $131,000 of total sale.

The average price for steers was $5.21 per pound, with a high of $7.25; lambs averaged $6.69, with a high of $9; goats averaged $10.80, with a high of $26; and hogs went for an average of $7.25, with a high of $17.50.

“Goats did really well at last year’s auction; I think that’s why we had more entries for them this year,”

Ciantar said. “Nine of the goats went to farms to be breeding stock for the next year — that’s nice to see, too.”

She also said she received a lot of positive feedback from the buyers. “Several of our return buyers, who typically purchase more than one hog, were unable to as they were outbid,” she said.

The small animal auction had 17 lots — three market chickens, a group of three market rabbits, a fryer market rabbit, five dozen eggs and seven turkeys — taking in more than $6,000 for the sale.

A highlight of the small animal auction was a dozen eggs selling for $1,250 that were purchased by Bedard County Line Farms.

“They had a goal to exceed what the U.P. State Fair took in for a dozen eggs, which was $1,200,” Degenaer explained.

Degenaer added that other fairs have been doing small animal auctions for years and the board received many requests to incorporate at the local fair.

“Overall it was a success; we will definitely continue with them, but plan to make a few changes,” he said.

“Everyone seemed to be really happy with the turnout.”

The youth market show welcomed several new participants this year. “We had nine new faces and had many of our youth members showing more than one species,” Ciantar said.

Participants came away from the auction excited and already planning next year’s project animals.

“It’s a good program — it not only shows them how to be responsible for something other than themselves, it helps raise money to succeed later in life,” she said.

“It’s really nice to see the pride they have when showing their animal,” Degenaer added.

Both Degenaer and Ciantar expressed appreciation to all who purchased or just came out to support the 4-H kids and make this year’s auction a success.


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