4-H market sale sets record, bringing total of $150,000

August 24, 2004|by ARNOLD S. PLATOU/Staff Writer

The Washington County 4-H Market Animal Sale was maybe the best in years, bringing in a record total of $150,000 for animals raised by local 4-H youths, Extension agent Jeff Semler said Monday.

"It's definitely the best one since" Ag Expo was moved to the county's Agricultural Education Center grounds in 1995, said Semler, who specializes in 4-H programs for the University of Maryland Extension office here. "It keeps getting better every year."

The sale, held the last night of Ag Expo in early August, puts the spotlight on local 4-H members and the animals they've raised.

Sharing the spotlight on that night are local businesses and other buyers who bid up the prices beyond prevailing market values - to reward the youths for their hard work.


One of the most crowd-pleasing sales of the night was the back-and-forth between Sword's Masonry and Hoffman Transportation in the bidding for Chris Thomas' grand champion beef steer.

Sword's, of Clear Spring, had the winning bid, paying $5 a pound for the 1,239- pound steer, which was raised by Chris Thomas, who lives near Boonsboro. Hoffman then bid for the 1,368-pound reserve champion beef steer, paying $4 a pound for the animal which also was raised by Thomas.

Semler said the two prices are the highest he can remember being paid for a grand and, likewise, for a reserve beef steer at the local sale.

In previous years, he said, the highs might have been $4 a pound for the champion and about $2.50 a pound for the reserve. He said the market price for a steer on the day of sale would have been about 85 cents a pound.

Prices also were strong for other animals. Here's the story on the grand and reserve champions:

  • Grand champion market lamb, raised by Justin Frey, brought $4 a pound from Roto Rooter Plumbing and Drain Service;

  • Reserve champion market lamb, raised by Karlie Hose, brought $6.25 from MacIntosh Realtors;

  • Grand champion dairy steer, raised by Andrew Herbst, brought $2.25 a pound from Martin's Elevators;

  • Reserve champion dairy steer, raised by Shawn Wiles, brought $1.40 a pound from Gruber Building & Restoration;

  • Grand champion capon, raised by Ben Calimer, brought $200 total from Mike and Lisa Drake;

  • Reserve champion capon, raised by Tracey Forsythe, brought $225 from N.T.B. Hoof Trimming;

  • Grand champion Longhorn steer, raised by Chris Thomas, brought $1.45 a pound from Trailer Enterprises. There was no reserve champion;

  • Grand champion meat goat, raised by Stacey Jones, brought $3.10 from Hagerstown Ford;

  • Reserve champion meat goat, raised by Katie Frey, brought $2 a pound from Dr. Ray Etiger;

  • Grand champion market goat, raised by Holly Shifler, brought $2.20 a pound from Amber and Rod MacRae;

  • Reserve champion market goat, raised by Derek Wiles, brought $2 a pound from The Feed Bin;

  • Grand champion meat pen of three rabbits, raised by Spencer Leggett, brought $30 a pound from Poffenberger's Upholstery;

  • Reserve champion meat pen of rabbits, raised by Katie Frey, brought $27 a pound from Charles and Kitty Dorsey;

  • Grand champion hog, raised by Justin Frey, brought $3.10 a pound from Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit;

  • Reserve champion hog, raised by Timmy Frey, brought $2 a pound from Willard Agri-Service;

  • Champion pair of hogs, raised by Clayton Frey, brought $1.60 a pound from Terrie and Ralph Shank and Ann and Arnold Platou;

Extension agent Semler said the crowd of spectators was "really active" in the bidding. "The unsung heroes at the auction are the back-bidders, who keep bidding the prices higher. They're just as important as the buyers," he said.

The sale's auctioneers, all volunteering their time, were Jack Downin, Jim Cochran, Denny Stouffer, Floyd Davis and Kevin Martin. Volunteering as a bid spotter was Leo Kline.

In all, about 160 animals were sold, which is about normal, Semler said.

Asked about it, he figured the average prices for each kind of animal, deducting the usually higher amounts paid for the grand and reserve animals. Here's the average prices:

  • Market lambs - $2.87 a pound;

  • Dairy steers - $1.14 a pound;

  • Capons - $158 apiece;

  • Meat goats - $2.42 a pound;

  • Market dairy goats - $2.63 a pound;

  • Meat pen rabbits - $22.67 a pound;

  • Hogs - $1.77 a pound; and

  • Beef steers - $1.53 a pound.

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