Poultry, including turkeys and broiler chickens, will be back on the sale block this year with the other market animals during the Junior Livestock Auction at the 82nd L.A. County Fair, which runs Sept. 10-26. Due to the Newcastle epidemic last year, poultry were not allowed to be sold or exhibited at fairs in California. That ban has been lifted so it will be business as usual during the annual sale, slated for Saturday, Sept. 25 at 11 a.m.
Last year Fair officials also moved the auction for the first time from a traditional weekday event to a Saturday sale, which proved to be a successful change as total revenues increased from the previous year, when more animals were sold. A total of $105,033 was brought in for 182 animals in 2003, a $21,000 increase from 2002 when 263 animals were sold.
“Having the auction on a Saturday was absolutely wonderful. People, whether representing a business or an individual, didn’t have to take off work to come out and buy and could also stay longer to provide more support to the children,” said Linda Plante, the Fair’s FairView Farms coordinator.
The annual Junior Livestock Auction is as deep seeded in tradition as the L.A. County Fair itself. Every year 4-H members, Future Farmers of America, college students and other youth involved in agriculture programs throughout California bring their livestock projects to the Fair to be judged, graded and sold. It is the culmination of a yearlong endeavor where they have the opportunity to earn back the monies spent raising their animal.
All animals that exhibit at the Fair are eligible for the Junior Livestock Auction offering the public as well as local businesses quality meat for a good cause. Livestock sold includes beef cattle, lambs, hogs, goats, rabbit fryer pens, calves and poultry, all raised as a small business
enterprise in the various agriculture programs.
The highest prices paid are traditionally for the grand champion and reserve grand champions of each species, which many businesses will do for advertising purposes while helping to promote the 4-H, FFA and other educational organizations. The other animals typically sell for less, but still are part of a competitive bidding process, providing opportunities for families and other entities to purchase quality meat for home use or business.
Last year the top price paid per pound during the sale was $24.25 for the 132-pound supreme grand champion market lamb raised by Sarah Hanks of the Templeton FFA for a total of $3,201. Buyers Nikki and Dennis Kepp of Newport Beach and Peterson Club Lambs of Nipomo split the bill for the prize lamb.
The 1,244-pound supreme grand champion market steer raised by Julie Schmidt, a student at California State University, Fresno, sold for $5 per pound or $6,330 to three buyers: Ray Cammack Shows of Laveen, AZ, Sheraton Suites Fairplex hotel and the Los Angeles County Fair Association board of directors.
The supreme grand champion market hog, weighing 260 pounds and raised by Lindsay Tasos of Dixieland 4-H Club in Madera, reaped $5 per pound or $1,300 when it sold to Playland Concessions of Huntington Beach.
Other top prices paid included $4.50 per pound for the 256-pound grand champion market calf or $1,152 and $5 per pound on the 116-pound grand champion market goat or $580. Rabbits and poultry are not sold by the pound, rather in pens. The champion three of rabbit fryers sold for $500 last year. In 2002 the champion pen of poultry broilers sold for $200 and the champion market t