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Stories from the valley

Investing in our future

Contributed by Steve Beckley

Memories of raising 4 H steers and selling them at the Colusa County Fair came back as I attended the Yolo County FFA Livestock Auction at the county fair this past weekend.  More importantly, it increased my appreciation of the many adults that work behind the scenes to make these events smooth running and a financial success.  Junior Livestock auctions are part of all Sacramento Valley fairs and Yolo County has the FFA Auction at the fair and a spring show and auction for 4 H in May.

Yolo Livestock 2The Yolo County FFA Auction is sponsored by the Woodland Rotary Club and underwritten by Farm Credit West.  Buyers are treated to a lunch sponsored by the Yolo County Farm Bureau that’s served by the FFA members.  Many farmers and others involved in area agribusinesses take time from harvest and other activities to sponsor, help out and purchase animals. And don’t forget the agriculture teachers and advisors that have been hard at work all year – especially at fair time.

Yolo Livestock 3I spent some time walking through the livestock area visiting with FFA members getting their animals ready for auction.  I asked many of them how they felt selling their prize livestock.  All were sad but understood that raising and selling animals is a business.  I certainly understand the bonds they have with their animals and I’m sure some tears were shed after the sale.

Yolo Livestock Champion 1At the end of the day it was a successful event, 270 buyers registered for the auction and the total sales of sheep, hogs, turkeys, goats, steers, rabbits and chickens was more than $205, 000.  The most important thing is that 179 FFA members got a monetary boost that will help them reinvest in project animals for next year and provide college funds.   Agriculture’s future is bright, as many of these young adults will come back in the industry to help meet the challenges of feeding the world’s population.