Livestock Auction

Zachary Schilter of Chehalis FFA takes his 33.32 pound Grand Champion market turkey for a walk with the help of a handy dandy cane in 2017 during the Junior Livestock Auction at the Southwest Washington Fair.

The Southwest Washington Junior Livestock Sale Committee (SWJLSC) announced this week that its 52nd annual sale, typically hosted at the now-canceled Southwest Washington Fair, will proceed with the 2020 event at a separate venue.

According to SWJLSC chairman Dr. Jason Humphrey, the annual sale will happen on August 22, the same weekend that the fair would have occurred, at the Chehalis Livestock Market this year.

The SWJLSC is a committee designed to educate and assist kids who are enrolled in 4-H, a youth development organization, or Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs with the most up-to-date knowledge on the meat animal industry, marketing livestock and also strengthening youth involvement in communities.

The annual sale is an opportunity for kids to market and sell the livestock they have worked on through the programs. The kids learn a lot about the industry, make some money while they’re at it, Humphrey said.

“Our focus is really just trying to do the right thing as far as making it a great learning experience for the kids and trying to make it as successful as we can. This year is obviously a different year, but that still continues to be the focus. Even without a fair, we wanted kids to have this opportunity,” Humphrey said.

There are still a few details — like the time of the event — that still need to be hashed out, according to Humphrey.

The committee has grown accustomed to having the sale at the fair, which provides a place for the livestock to stay and judges to grade the quality of the animal. All of it is done over a six-day period.

The task at hand for the junior livestock committee is to condense what would typically happen over six days into one day.

“We’re trying to figure out the logistics of getting them all dropped off, judged, weighed, pinned, identified, so that evening we can have a sale,” Humphrey.

It’s something that can be done, Humphrey says, provided that the state, county or local health officials do not have any restrictions in August that would prevent it. However, it will take a big effort from volunteers.

According to Humphrey, the annual sale has grown considerably in the last decade and usually has about 150 kids participating in it and around 300 or so people who come to observe or shop for the livestock.

Humphrey also noted that if you’re looking to bargain hunt on livestock, the SWJLSC’s annual sale is not where you’ll find those deals. Animals sold at the event can sell for as much as four times the market value.

But there are people willing to pay the inflated rate because they believe in the lessons that the kids are learning throughout the entire process of raising and selling an animal, Humphrey said.

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