Livestock Auction brings $89,930 4-H kids see hard work rewarded

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A total of 70 buyers spent $89,930 at Saturday night’s Switzerland County 4-H Fair livestock auction, and auction officials feel that this year’s event was a success although the number of entries fell from previous years.

The number of different buyers was down from 80 last year; while last year’s auction produced $90,115. Overall, the number of animals entered in the livestock auction fell from 180 last year to 158 this year — but the total raised at the auction was just $185 less even though there were 22 fewer animals.

With 158 animals bringing a total of $89,930, that means that the average price per animal was $569.18. That’s up significantly from the 2004 auction, when 180 animals brought a total of $90,115 — an overall average price per animal being $500.64. At the 2003 livestock auction, the average overall price was $498.01.

So even with fewer animals, thanks to the generous support of businesses and organizations, the average price per animal was up — which means more help for the 4-H member.

The record for the Switzerland County 4-H Fair livestock auction was set in 2000, when the total sale was $125,225. That year, the average price per animal was $485.37 — well under this year’s average price.

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 first breed to sell for the night was the dairy exhibits. 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, and his project was purchased by MainSource Bank for $400. Last year’s Grand Champion Dairy project was sold for $1,000. The Reserve Grand Champion was shown by Amanda Hon, and it was purchased by the Fletcher Feed and Moore’s Veterinary Clinic for $300. In 2004, the Reserve Grand Champion Dairy project was sold for $525.

Overall, there were five dairy projects, and those brought a total of $1,740 for an average of $348. In 2004, five dairy projects brought an average price of $615.

Next came the pigs, and with 33 swine in the auction, there was a drop in the number of entries. Last year, there were 39 pigs up for sale.

The Grand Champion swine was shown by Sarah Banta, and it was purchased by Switzerland Wholesale Supply for $1,400. Last year, the Grand Champion swine was sold for $1,350. The Reserve Grand Champion swine was raised by Jonathan Greene, and was purchased for $550 by Hilltop Basic Resources. Last year’s reserve grand champion was not sold; but the selling price for the Reserve Grand Champion in 2003 was $700.

This year the hogs brought a total price of $18,680, or an average of $566.06; down from last year’s average of $634.10.

The next group of animals sold at this year’s auction was poultry, and this year there were 13 poultry exhibits, down from 21 last year. The Grand Champion was shown by Rebecca Romans, and it was sold to Swift Construction for $425. Last year’s Grand Champion was sold for $450.

The Reserve Grand Champion poultry was shown by Kyle Grome, and was purchased by Aurora Lumber Company for $325. Last year, the Reserve Grand Champion was sold for $200. Overall, the poultry brought $3,375, or an average of $259.62 — well above the 2004 average on poultry of $172.38.

Sheep were next, and there were a total of 15 animals offered for auction, down from 19 last year. The Grand Champion Sheep was shown by April Thieman, and Haskell and Morrison Funeral Home was the winning bidder, paying $800. Last year’s Grand Champion brought a price of $950.

The Reserve Grand Champion sheep was raised by Lindsay Scott, and was sold to Brown’s Farm Implement for $875. Last year, the Reserve Grand Champion was not sold during the auction; but the Reserve Grand Champion in 2003 sold for $550. Overall the sheep had a total sale of $7,675, bringing an average price of $511.67. That is well up from last year’s average of $424.21.

Next in the arena came the goats, and this year it was the largest species at the auction, with 49 entries. That’s up from the 2004 total of 43 goats at the auction.

Jacob Chandler’s Grand Champion was sold to Fairview Grocery for $625. Last year’s Grand Champion brought $525. Rebecca Sittloh had the Reserve Grand Champion goat, and it was purchased by Lana Kelly for $400. Last year’s reserve was sold for $475.

Overall, there were 49 goats sold for a total of $19,385 — or an average price of $395.61. That’s more than $100 over last year’s average selling price for goats of $273.14.

One of the more unique auctions of the evening came between the goat and steer sales, when the 4-H Fairboard auctioned off Fair Queen Laura Hoskins. She will be representing Switzerland County in August at the Indiana State Fair Queen contest, and the money raised from the bidding will go towards helping with her expenses in preparing for the pageant and while she is in Indianapolis.

After some spirited bidding, Switzerland Wholesale Supply and Vevay Newspapers joined forces to seal the winning bid of $500.

Following the goats into the show arena this year were the steers, and with just 15 up for sale, it was a buyers market. Last year there were 19 steers in the auction.

Kaleesa Archer had this year’s Grand Champion, and it was purchased by Belterra Casino Resort and Spa for $3,800. Last year’s Grand Champion brought $3,300. The Reserve Grand Champion was shown by Mahlon Sittloh, and it was purchased by Edelweiss Floral and Shamrock Acres for $2,025. Last year’s Reserve Grand Champion brought a price of $2,700.

Overall the 15 beef projects brought a total of $29,460, for an average selling price of $1,964. Last year the steers averaged $1,669.74 per head.

The final species to be sold at this year’s auction were the rabbits, and this year there were 29 rabbits in the auction, down from last year’s 34 pairs sold.

This year’s Grand Champion rabbits were shown by Michelle Bare for the second straight year, and they were purchased by Aurora Casket for $750. Last year, the Grand Champions were sold for $500.

James Bare had the Reserve Grand Champion rabbits, and they were sold to People’s Federal Savings Bank for $600. Last year’s reserves were sold for $375.

Overall the 29 rabbits brought a total of $9,615, for an average selling price of $343.39. Last year’s rabbits brought an average of $210.59.