Livestock Auction teaches young farmers
August 1, 2014
The Summit County Fair is many things to many different people, but when you get down to it, there is arguably no better representation of the 105th annual tradition than the Junior Livestock Auction, scheduled for Aug. 9.
Fair officials are encouraging visitors to attend the auction, where more than 250 youngsters from throughout the county will be showing off their prized steers, lambs and hogs.
"Wherever you live in Summit County, you need to come and celebrate our common agricultural traditions and reminder of our Western heritage," said Travis English, Summit County fair administrator, said in a press release.
The auction is the culmination of months of livestock management by 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). High school students generally are involved in FFA at North Summit High School and South Summit High School, and those who are in third grade or older can participate in raising animals through 4-H.
Sterling Banks, USU Extension agent and 4-H coordinator, said that he grew up on a cattle ranch in Spanish Fork and that he encouraged his now-grown children to raise animals. Now, he is an advisor to all of the 4-H participants in the region, and has first-hand experience in the character-building aspects of raising livestock.
"It teaches the kids responsibility," Banks said. He added that "it’s a family deal That’s what it is all about."
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That aspect is illustrated by the Orgill family of Upton. Four children in the family have been raising lambs since April in order to get them ready for the Fair: Daniel, 16; Mallarie, 12; Caleb, 11; and Morgyn, 9. Morgyn has been waiting for years to be able to bring her lambs to the Fair, said her mother Rachel, and finally is old enough to do so.
Daniel said that he and his siblings got interested in raising livestock after hearing their father talk about how he showed pigs when he was younger. When it came time to choose an animal to choose, Daniel said, "it seemed a little easier" to raise lambs.
Not that it is easy raising a lamb. Besides feeding them two to three times a day, there is routine shearing, washing and a multitude of other activities that help to ensure that the lambs are kept healthy and presentable at the auction.
Another family involved in raising animals for the Junior Livestock Auction is the Mosher family of Henefer. Keston, 15, Kayslin, 13, and Kandon, 10, each raise hogs, with Keston involved in North Summit’s FFA and the other two children in 4-H. Their father, Ryan Mosher, said he likes to have his children raise animals because it teaches them responsibility, as well as the concept that to earn money, you have to spend money. For example, hogs — clean animals, Ryan maintained, contrary to popular belief — generally require between two and three pounds of show feed daily, and his kids buy the feed and keep records themselves.
Each child of the Upton family is allowed to sell only one of the two lambs they’ve raised, Rachel said, and even then, it can be tough to show an animal destined to become locally raised meat. "Our first year, my little brother got really attached to his," Daniel said.
"We’ve had some separation anxiety," Rachel said.
The Junior Livestock Auction will be held on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 1 p.m., at the Livestock Tent.