The selling of prize winning livestock raised by 4-H members, FFA members and college students is deep seated in tradition at the L. A. County Fair in Pomona, but it will be held on a Saturday for the first time during its tenure in an effort to attract more buyers. Over the past years it was held on a weekday following the culmination of the junior market livestock judging. It is slated for Saturday, Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. in the Barrett’s Sales Pavilion located at the Barrett’s Equine Sales Complex of the Fairgrounds.
The annual Junior Livestock Auction includes the sale of market hogs, lambs, goats, calves, beef cattle, rabbit fryers and pens of poultry broilers and turkeys raised by youth and students involved in various agriculture and livestock programs. This event represents the end of their yearlong project and small business venture and where they hope to obtain a better price for their animals than current market prices.
Funds raised during the annual sale help the owner offset the cost to raise and feed their animal and in some cases are used for buying another animal to raise for next year’s L. A. County Fair.
The 4-H and FFA organizations, college livestock programs and other youth agriculture groups provide guidance and instruction for raising market animals, Recordkeeping, feeding programs and practical skills are part of the project experience.
Upon arrival at the Fair, market animals are judged and graded in various competitive classes and only the best are selected for the auction. Each year nearly 200 buyers including individuals as well as businesses, service clubs, restaurants and grocery chains converge to buy these animals for various uses while supporting these educational programs. Among the longtime
supporters of the auction is Farmer John Meats of Vernon and O. H. Kruse Grain and Milling in Ontario.
Last year 25 cattle, 40 lambs, 104 hogs, six market calves, 21 goats, seven rabbit pens, 37 turkeys and 23 poultry pens or 263 animals were auctioned off.
The champion animals typically bring in the most money. The highest price paid per pound for a champion last year was $6 per pound for the Grand Champion Market Goat raised by 4-H member Felicia Byrne of Aqua Dulce. Her goat weighed 105 pounds and was purchased by Stainaker Electric of San Dimas for a total sale of $630.
However the highest total paid for an animal usually is for beef cattle since they weigh the most among the livestock sold at the auction. That proved true last year with the sale of the 1,285 pound Reserve Supreme Grand Champion Market Steer raised by Alex Bachman of Oak Hills and member of the Hesperia Highlighters 4-H club. It sold for $4 per pound or $5,140 and three buyers split the cost.
But the average price paid per pound for most auction animals is considerably less than the champion prices and what attracts most buyers to the sale. For example market lambs weigh an average of 128 pounds each and sell for around $2.50 per pound; market hogs average 230 pounds and sell for about $1.35 per pound; market beef cattle weigh on average 1,250 pounds and sell for about $1.15 per pound; market goats weigh an average of 82 pounds and sell for around $2.68 per pound and market calves weigh an average of 275 pounds and sell for an average of $2.70 per pound.
Turkeys, poultry pens and rabbit pens are sold for a flat amount and sell for an average of $75 to $120.