With grocery prices skyrocketing in today’s economy, a trip to this year’s Junior Livestock Auction at the L.A. County Fair to purchase top quality meat might be a good solution for stocking up the home freezer. The annual sale of prize winning beef, hogs, sheep, goats, poultry and rabbits raised by 4-H and FFA members as well as college students takes place Saturday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. at Hinds Pavilion. The Fair runs Sept. 5 – 28.
In addition to buying top quality meat, buyers are helping kids in a worthwhile endeavor. Last year 150 animals were auctioned off to buyers which included individuals as well as companies large and small. Service clubs, restaurants, grocery chains and several Fair concessionaires purchase animals for personal or commercial use.
“I think the buyers came out and supported us well. We had some new and returning buyers. Our good supporters were there,” said Kelly Secord, junior livestock superintendent.
The junior market animals begin the judging process before the Fair opens to the public, similar to the home arts departments and other divisions. So by opening day most of the prize winners are determined and ready for exhibition from Sept. 5 through 7.
“The ideas are endless how one can utilize their purchase. But whether you are a corporation or an individual the tax write off is great,” added Secord.
The difference between the amount paid by the buyer and the current market price for each species at the time of the sale is the amount that can be used as a tax deduction. Buyers are encouraged to confer with their tax advisor on any deduction.
Economically speaking here is an example for buyers to do comparison shopping. A 1,200-pound market beef animal, which is an average weight, yields about 700 pounds of meat. If the buyer purchases it for $1.50 per pound or $1,800, add in $600 for cutting and wrapping for a total cost of $2,400, the price per pound is about $3.40. And that is for all cuts of beef including the steaks. In the supermarket it is much more than that, even for ground beef.
The annual auction will feature the sale of market lambs, market steers, market hogs, rabbits, poultry, turkeys, market goats and market calves. Only the top placing animals will be eligible for purchase.
While the champion animals typically bring in the most money per pound, overall averages for the sale is much less and aimed to providing the best quality meat for consumers well below supermarket prices. As an example, market lambs weigh an average of 130 pounds and sold for an average of $2.38 per pound in 2007, while the 138-pound Grand Champion Market Lamb raised by Jenna Bennett of Arroyo Grande 4-H sold for $4.25 per pound or $586.50.
While the 1,336-pound Grand Champion Market Steer raised by Sarah Jane Abatti of Holtville FFA sold for $13 per pound or $17,368 last year the average price paid per pound for market beef cattle without the champions was $1.69. Market steer average weight is 1,250 pounds.
For market hogs, which typically weigh in at 250 pounds, the average price per pound last year was $1.66 while the 266-pound Reserve Grand Champion Market Hog raised by Ryan Kaldhusal of Acton Arrowhead 4-H sold for $7.50 per pound or $1,995, which was also higher than the Grand Champion price of $5 per pound.
Market goats, which usually weigh around 100 pounds, sold for an average of $2.30 per pound and the Grand Champion brought in $11 per pound.
Turkeys, poultry broilers and rabbit pens sell for flat amounts, not per pound, and last year sold for prices ranging from $125 to $650.
“This is definitely the best way to buy meat for home use and save,” added Secord. “At the same time you are supporting positive youth activities.”
Anyone interested in obtaining more information on the Junior Livestock Auction or registering as a buyer may call the Agriculture Department at (909) 865-4000.
For complete information on the Fair visit the Web site www