(By Aubrey Markel/FFA Advisor)
A guide to bidding and buying a livestock animal at the Northeast WA Fair. This time of the year I field a lot of questions about the fair and the livestock sale, mainly, “How do I buy an animal at the fair?” The whole process can seem intimidating, but I hope to explain the process simply and encourage you to join in the fun on Saturday August 26 at 3 p.m. at the Northeast Washington District Fair in Colville. Through 4-H and FFA Livestock Programs, local youth gain skills in raising, showing and marketing livestock. In the process, they learn record keeping, responsibility, financial accountability, and animal care, fundamental skills that last a lifetime!
WHAT IS THE LIVESTOCK AUCTION?
The Livestock Auction is the culmination of 4-H and FFA livestock members’ efforts – when the animals they have raised are sold to the public. It is the last step in their project where the educational marketing aspects come to life.
WHY SHOULD I PURCHASE A 4-H or FFA ANIMAL?
First and foremost, the high quality of locally raised meat!
• The personal satisfaction of supporting youth in their “learn by doing” projects!
• Free advertising!
• It is a nice way to say thank you to the parents of members who do business with you!
• You may qualify for a tax deduction; consult a tax advisor.
WHO CAN BUY AT THE AUCTION?
The livestock auction is open to the general public – businesses and individuals. Two or more individuals can also go together to purchase an animal by splitting the purchase price. Everyone is invited to join in the fun and excitement of the Auction!
SHOULD I PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY?
It is a good idea to arrive early enough to register as a buyer, review the sale animals and talk to the 4-H/FFA members and other buyers. Sale catalogs will be available at the clerk’s table at sale time.
HOW DO I BID?
When an animal you would like to buy is in the ring and at a price you desire, signal the auctioneer by raising your hand. If you receive the final bid, make sure the auctioneer has your name and number so that it can be announced and recorded.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN ANIMAL I PURCHASE?
Buyers have several options:
• First decide if you want to have the animal processed for personal consumption or if you will be “Turning” the animal. If you purchase a 1,200 pound steer for $3.00 per pound the gross cost would be $3,600. If you elect to TURN the steer, the “market price” would be subtracted, for example, if the market price is $1.00 per pound, your credit would be $1,200. Subtract the difference, and you then now owe $2,400. Note you do not receive any meat if you “Turn” the animal.
• Have the animal processed and give as a bonus to employees or as a gift to customers.
• Have the animal processed and donate it to a local food pantry or another non-profit organization of your choice.
AFTER I PURCHASE AN ANIMAL, THEN WHAT?
Every person that purchases an animal must checkout before leaving the sale. Please report to the clerk’s table as soon as possible after you are finished bidding for the day. At the clerk’s table you will need to:
1. Indicate whether you would like the animal processed for your personal use and your choice of processor.
2. Pay for your purchases or request to be billed. (Please keep in mind that 4-H and FFA members do not receive payment for their animals until the buyer has paid.)
IF I DECIDE TO HAVE MY ANIMAL PROCESSED, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
You will need to choose a processing plant. Make sure the clerk is aware of your processing plant choice. A list of processors will be available on the day of sale. Contact the processor following the auction to inform them of: the tag number and species of animals you are having processed, the cutting instructions, payment arrangements, and to arrange for picking up your packaged meat. Note that you are responsible for any cutting and wrapping fees with your selected processer. Transportation of the animal to the listed processors is provided.
Here are some examples of costs to purchase for personal consumption:
Beef-A 1200 lb. live weight beef provides about: 720 lbs. of total dressed meat. With a bid of $3.00/lb., the animal would cost $3,600. Add about $500 for processing, and you’d pay $4,100 or $3.42/lb.
Lamb- A 125 lb. lamb provides about 60 lbs. of total dressed meat. With a bid of $4.00/lb., the animal would cost $500. Add about $60 for processing, and you’d pay $560 or $4.48/lb.
Pork- A 250 lb. swine provides about: 125 lbs. of total dressed meat. With a bid of $3.50/lb., the animal would cost $875. Add about $180 for processing, and you’d pay $1,055 or $4.22/lb.
I hope this information gives you the confidence you need to attend the Northeast Washington Fair Livestock Auction and support local 4-H and FFA Members on Saturday August 26 at 3 p.m. in Colville.