New Castle News

August 20, 2012

Photo Gallery, Story: Livestock auction caps county fair

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Cooler weather, blue skies and support of the agriculture industry were among reasons meat-buyers went to the fair early Saturday.

But most went to put their money behind the hard-working youths who had spent the year raising animals for this big week.

A continuous line of bidders waited to get their numbers, eager to raise them when the right animal entered the exhibit ring at the annual Junior Livestock Sale at the Lawrence County Fair.

Several hundred people packed into the show barn. There were not only buyers but family members, teachers, 4-H and FFA leaders and friends.

There were 237 animals were sold for meat, including beef, pigs, lambs, goats and rabbits.

Some buyers went to stock their freezers as a way to save.

But despite a struggling economy, the prices seemed to be higher than last year’s if the sale of the grand champion pig was any indication.

Shown by Scott Snyder of Volant, the 399-pound Yorkshire hog brought $8 per pound. The buyer was Cory Struchal of Slippery Rock, back a second time after buying a lamb last year.

“I’ve always been part of the agricultural community,” explained Struchal, who owns a grain farm. “I know most everybody here.”

The 4-H and FFA youths send letters to businesses and friends inviting them to attend the auction to bid on their animals. And although Struchal gets a letter every year, he would attend anyway.

“I just like to support the 4-H community,” he said.

Dan Murphy of Diamond Milling Co. in New Brighton also travels to Lawrence County to participate. He’s been a buyer for 15 years.

Saturday, he was hoping to buy a hog, a steer and a lamb at the sale.

His company sells feed to the students for their animals. He attended the sale with his family.

“We came up to give a little business back to them,” he said.

Fair director George Rodgers explained the youths who sell animals give about 4.25 percent of their sale back to the Junior Livestock Association so it can meet the costs of running the auction.

The rest — nearly 96 percent — they keep, and most of them invest the money in next year’s project, or put it into a college education fund.

Hundreds of local businesses participate, and some donate services each year for the auction, such as hauling and meat processing.

Each September, the 4-H, FFA and Junior Livestock Association sponsor an appreciation cookout at the fairgrounds for the buyers and supporters as a thank-you for their help.

This year’s event is planned for Sept. 16.