The following is a press release from the Redwood Empire Fair:
If you’ve never been to a Junior Livestock Auction at the Redwood Empire Fair, you may have missed out on one of the most interesting, emotional and educational experiences available during the 4-day long Fair weekend.
Every year- even during the last two Covid years, 4-H, FFA and Independent youth agriculturalists bring their animals to the auction. It’s an opportunity for the young people to reap the financial fruits of their labors, and an opportunity for the community to show their appreciation for these literal future farmers.
This year, the event was presided over by familiar Fair friends Richard Daniels, Mike Delbar and Tom Allman. The auctioneers were Mark Wright and Drew McElfresh from the Cattleman’s Livestock Market. The official Ring Men- who stand in front of the audience, take the bids and forward them to the auctioneers were Lee Persico, Chuck Persico, Mike and Mark Luchetti, Lorne Chase, Brian Beeson, Dustin Satterwhite, Tom East and Mark Silva.
Following a buyer’s breakfast, the prospective buyers signed up and received bright green bidding cards. The seating in Racine Pavilion rapidly filled to standing room only, and starting at noon, the libations booth conveniently placed at the front of the Pavilion begins to see a lot of action. With this year’s event being the first live auction in two years, the mood was a little wild and seriously supportive of the kids, who offered steer, lamb, hog, goat, rabbit, poultry or turkeys for sale.
This year’s auction sponsors included the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, Geiger’s Long Valley Market and Taco Bell, which all sponsored the buyer’s hats, as well as the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, which provides support throughout the auction. The list of buyers is too large to print. Let it suffice to say that over 100 individuals and businesses were signed up as buyers prior to Auction Day- from Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, to Elliot’s Christmas Trees in Ukiah, from Healing Herb Cannabis Farm in Willits to the Round Valley Indian Tribes Senior Center in Covelo- people came from up and down Mendocino County to partake in the bidding.
According to Redwood Empire Fair CEO Jennifer Seward, this fair has the reputation of pulling in as much if not more auction proceeds than many larger venues throughout California- and if today’s event was any indication, buyers were enthusiastic about what they were seeing and were not afraid to spend some serious cash.
A Grand Champion Market Turkey raised by Jacob Welter of Fort Bragg FFA was purchased for $3,000 by Rescue Solutions. Venessa De La Torre, winner of the Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer Award fetched $27 per pound for her 1,265- pound steer, which was purchased by Thurston Auto Plaza. An FFA Reserve champion Poultry Meat Pen raised by Nathan Burger of the Anderson Valley FFA fetched $600 when they were purchased by Taco Bell, and Donahoo, Inc. made several purchases, including Kenzie Osburn’s FFA Reserve Champion Market Hog, weighing in at 245 pounds and selling for $29 per pound.
A total of 201 animals were auctioned off on Saturday, and based on the audience chatter, the feeling was this year’s auction could be a record-setter. The bidding was loud, raucous and fast-paced, and clearly, the smiles all around indicated that just about everyone left the auction with a sense of gratification and appreciation of the hard work, talent and dedication of the youth who make it all happen.