GOSHEN — This year’s Elkhart County 4-H Fair livestock auction didn’t draw several new records like last year’s, but was a strong sale overall, organizers said.
The preliminary total of Friday’s auction was $931,871.94. That’s down more than $32,000 from last year’s record total, but is still the third-highest total in the auction’s history.
The second Friday of the fair, most livestock club 4-Hers auction off their animals, with dairy club champions auctioning off a cheese basket. Each 4-Her receives 100 percent of the bid price.
Renee Troyer-Campbell, auction treasurer, said that things ran smoothly throughout the day-long auction.
“Buyers continue to be supportive as they have in the past,” she said.
“I continue to be amazed at the amount of community support,” she added. Buyers carried out their support for the 4-Hers even as the recession started, she pointed out.
Jeff Burbrink, Purdue Cooperative extension education, said that buyers consistently support the auction because “they think it’s important that these kids are learning something.”
“They’re not just learning about animals,” he said, “but they’re learning how to get along with each other in a club format ... They’re learning to have fun and learning responsibility.”
Brian Campbell, who helps run the auction, said that when you look at the average amount spent per pound or per animal or pen, “it was a strong sale.” Especially with the number of animals down from past years in a few species and the market price a bit lower in others, the sale was right on track with past years. Several species posted their second highest averages in the price per pound or per animal in the last several years, for example.
In the swine auction, which did set an overall new record, the price per pound for the first time topped $3, jumping to $3.53 a pound. The 272 swine lots brought in a record total of $255,919.25, an increase from the previous record of $213,664.25, set in 2010.
An overall record was also set in the poultry auction.
The 127 pens in the poultry auction brought in a record total of $31,925, beating the previous record of $26,050 from last year.
The auction also included a special item this year: a kiss from Fair Queen Stephanie Yoder.
Yoder kissed a beef steer owned by Hillary Lechlitner of Wakarusa for a bid of $1,000, with the proceeds going toward the fair’s land purchase.
Individual records were also set in two auctions.
The reserve champion meatpen in the rabbit auction went for a record $700. The past record had been $600, set in 2007.
The goat auction also set a new record for the number of animals sold at 97, two more than the record year in 2009.