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Ag Expo youths send animals to market sale

July 28, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Lonnie Thomas, 16 of Boonsboro preps his 1,164-pound cow "Limi" before the Washington County 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale at Washington County Ag Expo and Fair in Sharpsburg.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

Steve Martin's son, Tim, sold steers, lambs and other animals during his time in 4-H, earning enough money to help pay for his education at West Virginia University.

Tim is now studying engineering at WVU thanks in part to his 4-H success.

On Thursday night, Martin's younger son, Justin, was selling a beef steer during the Washington County 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale at Washington County Ag Expo and Fair in Sharpsburg.

The thirteen-year-old boy ended up selling the animal to Gouff Construction for $1,471.75, which Justin said he is considering using to buy another steer.

"He's got a good bit of money invested, but I think he turned a profit," Steve Martin said as Justin tied up the steer in a barn.

Justin raises his animals at his family's Ivy Hill Farm along Smithsburg Pike.

The market animal sale is one of the highlights of the fair, with an estimated 80 youths from age 8 to 18 selling about 120 animals Thursday night.

For the youths, the event is a culmination of a year's worth of work raising the animals through 4-H and the Future Farmers of America.

The animals are usually bought by local businesses and individuals. The buyers are a critical part of helping youngsters learn about the business of agriculture on a small scale, organizers said.

Fourteen-year-old Kelsie Yetter said she has been raising animals since she was a little girl, selling steers, sheep and pigs over the years.

Before Kelsie goes to classes at Clear Spring High School, she gets up at the family farm in Williamsport about 6:30 a.m. to care for her animals. There's evening work, too.

"They get their baths at night," said Kelsie's mother, Penny.

Kelsie said she likes raising the animals because it gives her good experience budgeting money.

Kelsie said she sold two beef steers Thursday night, one for $3 per pound to Bragunier Masonry and one for $3.30 per pound to Gruber Latimer Restoration LLC.

Valerie Mason, 15, has sold beef steers for six years and goats for three years. The animals that are sold often head to the slaughterhouse, something Valerie said took some getting used to in the beginning.

"You learn to cope with it as you go on," said Valerie, who has been saving her livestock sale money for college and a car.

The Boonsboro High School student sold a beef steer Thursday night to Myers Building Systems for about  $2,400.

Auctioneers Floyd Davis, Jack Downin, Denny Stouffer, Jim Cochran, Clair Martin and Leo Cline took turns auction the animals and other items.

Some of the livestock auctioned helped support scholarship funds for which youngsters can apply, said Shannon Uzelac, a 4-H program assistant.

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