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Auction the final step at fair

July 22, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Auctioneer Floyd Davis, of Willamsport, looks for a bid during the 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale held at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.
Kelly Hahn Johnson, Staff Photographer

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Thursday was that time during the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair when youths who have been raising livestock for judging parted with their animals during the 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale.

It can be a trying moment, as Chad Hamilton has learned.

Animals that were graded as champions and reserve champions were auctioned and Hamilton, a senior at Clear Spring High School, was the first youth to auction his hog Thursday night at the main show ring.

The animals that are auctioned often head off to be slaughtered, but Hamilton was thankful his market hog named White was spared.

Hamilton said the person he purchased the hog from bought the animal back Thursday night and the buyer plans to use White to breed pigs.

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That's good, Hamilton said, because he liked White.

"Did you tell him we were attached to that one?" Hamilton's sister, Danielle, asked as Hamilton talked to a reporter about his hog.

Hamilton said he grew to like White because the hog was so lovable and would perk its ears up whenever Hamilton walked into its barn.

"It's just that she cared for us as much as we cared for her," Hamilton said, who sold his hog for $1,038.

While some youths were bothered by the fact their animals could be headed for the slaughterhouse, others didn't mind at all.

"Nope," Danielle Young said resoundingly when asked if she was bothered at the prospect of her hog becoming food.

"It's a good pig," Young said looking down at one of two reserve champion hogs she auctioned for $322. "It gets me college money."

The youths received about 95 percent of the money from the sales, with the rest going to help run the market sale, said Beth Nichols, extension educator for 4-H Youth Development. The money the youths make from auctioning their animals often is saved for expenses such as college tuition.

Young, 17, said she plans to study physical therapy at Slippery Rock (Pa.) University, although she probably will continue to farm on the side.

About 60 youths were expected to sell animals during the auction. Besides hogs, other animals to be sold included beef steers, dairy steers, dairy meat goats, meat goats and meat pen rabbits, Nichols said.

About six auctioneers handled the bidding and a variety of businesses and individuals bought the animals.

Nichols said the auction, which came on the last day of the weeklong Ag Expo & Fair, is considered a culminating event after youths have spent months raising their animals.

It was an energetic event at times as adults helping to conduct the auction had to periodically wrestle with an unruly hog. At the same time, the machine gunlike sound of the auctioneers' voices echoed through the pavilion.

One man who was corralling hogs in a picture-taking area used a sign that read "4-H Pork for Your Fork."

Auctioneer Kevin Martin kept the auction going by encouraging bidders to step up with an offer.

"Folks, if you want some bacon, the line's getting shorter," Martin said.

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