2007 4-H livestock auction totals $101,345; Grand Champion steer brings $5,000

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This year’s Switzerland County 4-H Fair was capped off with a bang on Saturday night as the festivities concluded with the annual livestock auction bringing in a total of $101,345 - far and above last year’s auction total of $88,779.

One of the big reasons for the jump was the record set with the selling of Kaleesa Archer’s Grand Champion steer, which was purchased by Belterra Casino Resort and Spa for a staggering $5,000.

A total of 81 different buyers participated in this year’s auction, up from last year’s total of 77.

One big positive was that the number of animals offered in the livestock auction rose after falling in recent years. This year there were 175 animals at the auction, up significantly from 146 last year and 158 in 2005.

Taking the total of the auction divided by the number of animals, that means that the average price per animal came in at $579.11 – which is a drop from the 2006 average of $608.08; but up from the 2005 average of $569.18; and the 2004 average of just $500.64

The record total auction here in Switzerland County was achieved in 2000, when the total was $125,225; but that year the average price per animal was just $485.37.

There was a great and generous spirit at this year’s auction, as a number of animals saw fast-paced bidding by buyers. The annual barbecue for buyers from last year’s auction was again a success, with the Switzerland County Lions Club doing the cooking. The auction was led again this year by Eric Cole, who – along with a large group of volunteers – kept the event moving smoothly.

The goat exhibitors were the first ones into the auction area on Saturday night, and with 59 animals, it was the largest species at this year’s auction – up from last year’s total of 51.

Morgan Nay’s grand champion was purchased by Swift Construction, Toby and Chandra Hart, for a price of $650. Last year’s grand champion brought a price of $550.

The Reserve Grand Champion this year was raised by Jesse Bailey, and it was purchased by Holman’s Septic Tank Sales and Ready Mix for a price of $575. Last year’s Reserve Grand Champion was sold for $575.

Overall, there were 54 goats that sold for a total of $15,090, or an average of $255.76 per animal. In 2006, 51 goats sold for a total of $21,904 - or an average price of $429.49.

Next came the sheep, and this year there were 22 animals, which is up considerably from last year’s total of 13 and the 2005 total of 15.

The Grand Champion Sheep was shown by Katie Hall for the second year in a row, and The River House Bar and Grill was the winning bidder, paying $750. Last year’s Grand Champion brought a price of $900.

The Reserve Grand Champion sheep was raised by Lindsay Scott for the second year in a row, and was sold to MainSource Bank for $575. Last year, the Reserve Grand Champion brought a total price of $775.

Overall the sheep had a total sale of $8,790, bringing an average price of $399.55. That is down considerably from the average price from last year’s auction, which was $511.92.

Next came the rabbits, which this year had 19 sellers, down slightly from the 2006 total of 22.

James Bare sold this year’s Grand Champions, and they were purchased by K&G Gutters for a cost of $425. Last year’s Grand Champions brought $400.

The Reserve Grand Champions were shown by Alex Galbreath, and they were purchased by Aurora Lumber Company for a bid of $325. The Reserve Grand Champions at the 2006 auction brought $275.

This year the 19 pairs of rabbits brought a total of $5,380, for an average selling price of $283.16 – a jump from last year’s rabbit average of $218.86.

Next into the arena came the steers, and it didn’t take long for the packed show arena crowd to have its collective breath taken away.

Grand Champion Kaleesa Archer brought her steer into the ring, and after some spirited bidding, Belterra Casino Resort and Spa, entered a winning bid of $5,000 - well over the previous record amount.

Last year’s Grand Champion steer brought $3,700.

The Reserve Grand Champion steer was shown by Heather Weaver, and was purchased by R.S. Homes, Rod and Sue Dickerson, for a price of $2,000. Last year’s Reserve Grand Champion brought $1,675.

Overall there were 19 steers in this year’s auction, up from 16 a year ago. They brought a total price of $35,350, for an average of $1,860.53 each. That was well over the 2006 average selling price of $1,643.13.

The dairy exhibit has been indicative of the changing face of the agriculture industry in this area, and this year there were five entries, which was up from just three last year.

Since dairy cows are far too valuable to sell, Switzerland County dairy exhibitors have created decorative baskets and coolers filled with all types of dairy products for the winning bidder to enjoy.

The Grand Champion this year was shown by Josh Hon for the second year in a row, and his project was purchased by Hilltop Basic Resources for $550. Last year’s Grand Champion Dairy project was sold for $625.

The Reserve Grand Champion was shown again by Amanda Hon, and it was purchased by the Brown’s Farm Implement for $535. In 2006, the Reserve Grand Champion Dairy project was sold for $550.

Overall, there were five dairy projects, and those brought a total of $2,180 for an average of $436, which was down from last year’s auction, when the dairy projects brought an average price of $508.33.

Next came the swine, and this year there were 44 hogs in the sale, up from 36 in last year’s auction.

The Grand Champion this year was shown by Micah Works, and it was purchased by Haskell and Morrison Funeral Home for $1,800. Last year’s Grand Champion was sold for $1,300.

The Reserve Grand Champion swine was raised by Melisa Raisor for the second year in a row, and was purchased for $1,600 by North Bend Farms. Last year’s reserve grand champion brought a price of $600.

This year the hogs brought a total price of $32,065, or an average of $728.75. The 4-H members showing swine had to be happy with that average, which was up slightly from last year’s average of $718.19.

The final exhibit of this year’s livestock auction was the poultry, which had seven exhibitors this year, up from five that were exhibited in last year’s auction.

This year’s Grand Champions were shown by Rebecca Romans and were purchased by Kappes Brothers Farms and East Enterprise Marathon for a price of $490. The 2006 Grand Champions brought a price of $450.

The Reserve Grand Champions were exhibited by Nathan Romans, and were purchased by Bowling Farm Equipment for $400. Last year’s Reserve Grand Champions brought a total price of $350.

Overall the seven poultry exhibits this year, and those exhibits brought a total price of $2,490, for an average of $355.71. The average was just over the 2006 auction, when the average auction price for the poultry exhibits was $347.