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4-H auction nets huge payday for local youths

Mike Taborski

If the success of this year’s Plumas-Sierra Junior Livestock Auction is any kind of indication, the local economy seems to be rebounding nicely from the recession.

Members of the local 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs had to be delighted with the tale of the tape at this year’s auction held the final day of the county fair, Sunday, Aug. 17.

With the encouragement of perennial auctioneer Wesley Neer, a generous crowd of buyers packed the sales area that morning, spending a total of $209,975 on 111 animals that were enthusiastically nurtured to a very successful result by our hard-working youths (and their families) involved in the 4-H and FFA programs.

In comparison, last year buyers spent $168,488 on 98 animals, up slightly from the year before. In total sales, 2005 generated the largest take with 182 animals — 71 more than this year — fetching $314,400.

This year in the sale there were 19 head of beef; 55 hogs; 22 sheep; 12 goats; one market bird; and two turkeys.

Sale of champions

The Roberti Ranch and Bar One Cattle paid $5,129 for Echo 4-H member Brock Griffin’s 1,251-pound grand champion steer, also the Gene Drybread Memorial Award winner. It sold for $4.10 a pound.

Kristin Roberti’s reserve champion steer went for an impressive $7 a pound to Meyer Ranch and Stonehouse Drilling. Tipping the scales at 1,357 pounds, the runner-up sold for $9,499.

The grand champion hog, also the swine showmanship winner, sold for $6.75 per pound to the Pardner Feed and Ranch store. The porky 287-pound pig netted Allie Davis, of Loyalton FFA, $1,937.25.

Kealey Froggatt sold her 286-pound reserve champion pig to the Bengard Ranch — a familiar name each year at the auction — for $5.25 a pound.

The Bengards also bought the grand champion lamb, which was raised by American Valley 4-H’er Rachel Wehrman. The 139-pounder went for $10 a pound. Rachel’s sheep was also the senior sheep showmanship winner and 4-H senior round robin champ.

Grace Bristol’s 146-pound reserve champion lamb went for $7.50 a pound to another perennial buyer, Safeway Stores.

The Pardner Feed and Ranch store stepped up once again and paid $5.75 a pound for the grand champion goat, raised by Noah Vaglivielo from the Loyalton FFA. The 104-pounder also claimed the FFA goat showmanship honors.

Payton Peter sold his reserve champion 80-pound goat to Plumas Bank for $6 per pound. The locally owned bank also provides the financing for the sale.

Jade Leddy, from the Loyalton club, won the honor of raking in the top price per pound with the sale of the grand champion market turkey. Rio Leyva paid a hefty $32 per pound for the 47-pound bird.

And the Pardner wasn’t finished buying champs. It bought Kylie McGee’s reserve champion turkey, all 28 pounds, for $21 a pound, and also paid $300 for Echo 4-H’er Nathan Smeltzer’s champion pen of meat chickens.

Clayton Floyd Neer 4-H Memorial Fund

With the purchase of several animals, Scott and Jenny Wolf again played a key role in helping raise money for the Clayton Floyd Neer 4-H Memorial Fund.

The money is primarily used to make interest-free loans to 4-H’ers to help kick-start their respective projects. The loans are repaid once the kids receive the proceeds from the sale of their animals. Since its inception in 2010, 21 loans have been made.

Speaking on behalf of the Neer family, auctioneer Wesley Neer said they were very pleased to report that donations to the fund from this year’s sale amounted to something in the neighborhood of $6,000, raising the total balance available next year to around $12,000. “We are thrilled to be able to give more back to the kids,” he said.

He said next year they are raising the amounts of the individual loans and will also be awarding at least one $500 scholarship to a Plumas or Sierra 4-H’er.

The new loan ceiling for steers will be $1,000, and those applications need to be in by Nov. 1. Kids planning to raise swine can apply for a loan of up to $500; and those raising goats can apply for $300. Those applications need to be made by April 1, 2015.

Neer said those interested in applying for either should contact their 4-H advisor.

Top buyers, price bumps and other large donors

In addition to the champs’ buyers, some of the other top buyers with multiple purchases included many familiar names at this annual auction: Sierra Pacific Industries, Roberti Ranch, Fehrman Funeral Homes, NAPA Auto Parts, Sierra Valley Ranch, Sierra Valley Feed, Kingdon Equipment-Travis Kingdon and Wilcox Construction.

Certainly notable for bumping up the price per pound on several sales to ensure the kids were fairly compensated for all their hard work were Bengard Ranch, Don Dobbas, Neff Family Ranch and Dr. Steen Jensen.

Other large contributors to the success of the sale included the Neff Family Ranch, which again paid for the live trucking. Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications paid the auctioneer’s fees. The Plumas County Sheriff’s Employees Association picked up the tab for the buyers’ breakfast and D&L Distributing provided drinks.

Joseph and Katherine Fisher, of Bullet Information Technologies, took care of the sale’s on-site IT accounting needs and Plumas Bank provided the sale financing to assure the kids received their funds in a timely fashion.

Neer said he auctioneers at a number of youth livestock auctions and commented that he has never seen the strong community support he sees every year at the Plumas-Sierra auction.

He said it’s great to see people pay for the breakfast, trucking and virtually all the other costs associated with the sale because that means the kids are able to net nearly everything from the sale of their animals.

Award winners

Other 4-H and FFA showmanship winners not already mentioned include Bret Colberg, FFA poultry; Kennedy Hood, 4-H senior beef; Bowdy Griffin, FFA beef; Rebecca Leonhardt, 4-H junior beef; Josh Greene, 4-H senior swine; Rachael Fogelman, 4-H junior meat goat; Brianne Farnworth, 4-H senior goat; Andrew Kielak, FFA sheep; Lane Coelho, 4-H beginning beef; Drew Tilton, 4-H junior swine; Nicole Cardona, 4-H beginning swine and junior poultry; Matthew Graves, 4-H beginning meat goat; Danielle Jackson, 4-H junior sheep; and Mason Williams, 4-H beginning sheep.

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