Westmoreland Junior Livestock Sale raises money for 4-H youth
Payment for a year's worth of work was obtained in less than a minute as more than 200 livestock animals raised by 4-H members were auctioned at the annual Westmoreland Junior Livestock Sale at the fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant Township.
The annual event gives 4-H members who brought animals to the fair the opportunity to place them in auction for the public and local businesses.
“The money that they get is theirs to go toward the raising of their animals throughout the year,” Penn State Extension educator Johanna Sheppard said. “These kids here have a commitment to their animals and a lot invested. Feeding has become very, very costly and hay prices are high. If they do chose to have their animals here today, then that gives them the chance to raise some money to get back some of their investment and buy animals for next year.”
The champion and reserve champion animals are always the first to be offered at the auction and many times generate some of the highest prices.
Brother and sister, Colton Zundel, 16, and Hannah Zundel, 19, of New Alexandria had a great morning, with six top animals auctioned as champions or grand champions.
Hannah Zundel received $30 a pound for her Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb, then $15 a pound for her Grand Champion Lamb Carcass, some of the highest bidding seen in the morning.
“We had a pretty good day,” Zundel said. “We got a little money back, but then sometimes we just break even.”
Zundel said she and her brother spare no expense when it comes to raising the animals that they bring to the fair each year.
“Our animals get the best of everything,” Zundel laughed. “I go without new shoes, but they get the best feed.”
Joey Espey, 16, of Scottdale had a good showing at the auction, receiving $5.25 a pound for his 1,340-pound Grand Champion Market Steer.
“I got about what I expected,” Espey said of the price he received for the steer. “I got grand champion last year and got about the same price.”
The numbers were up slightly for the overall auction, with 217 different animals on the bidding block.
Buyers came from all over the area. Many donated the animals back upon giving the winning bid, with that animal then being resold later in the auction.
The second amount raised on those animals then goes to program funding or the FFA and 4-H scholarship funds, with the buyer having the option to choose.
Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline was the highest bidder on a trio of Reserve Grand Champion Market Chickens, raised by Emma Huber, 9, of Derry. He then donated them back to the auction to be resold.
“I have friends that come here, so I thought I'd try it this year,” said Kline, a first-time visitor to the auction and first-time buyer. “4-H is such a great cause, so I wanted to donate them back.”
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.