For the kids, auction is certainly the highlight of fair week.
They are able to to sell only “market” animals (animals ready for slaughter). This year they could sell the hogs and steer but not the calves.
A few weeks before fair they carefully craft buyer letters. They look through the list of list year’s buyers and select several to send letters to.
This is an example of a buyer letter. Dan also included 2 photos,one of himself with Squirt at 1 month old and the other at market weight.
Dear Moritz Material,
My name is Dan Garn and I am an eighth grader at Hillsdale Middle School. I am inviting you to bid on the Junior Fair Market Steer auction at the Ashland County Fair, Thursday Sept 20, 2012 at 6:30pm.
I am a member of Hilltop 4Hers. This is my first year showing a market steer. I am also showing a feeder calf, a market hog, and a gun safety project. I am the treasurer of my 4H group. I am an honors student and wish to be a dentist. I also play football, baseball, basketball and run track. I am saving my fair earnings for college and next year’s animal projects.
I have raised this steer since it was 1 day old. I showed him at last year’s fair as a feeder calf. I have cared for him for 18 months; including bottle feeding, halter breaking, and providing clean food, water and housing daily. I have included pictures of him. He is a Brown Swiss. He is well muscled and you will enjoy the beef. If you have any questions about bidding you can contact my father, Rob Garn.. Thank you for supporting junior fair!
This is one of the non-animal skills that I think fair teaches. Asking for buyers, talking to them if approached at fair, and remembering to write thank letters.
Michael’s first year at fair he was sitting on his hog pen when a woman walked up to him and asked him questions about how he cared for his pig.
He talked for several minutes and she walked away. He had no idea who was. But several hours later she bought his pig at auction. She was the owner of the local Applebee’s restaurant and wanted to support hard working kids. She had received many letters, read them, then talked to the kids on the fairgrounds. Thankfully Michael was polite and answered thoughtfully instead of ignoring her and running off with his friends.
This year auction was wonderful. I very quickly remembered why I like to work for a small independent hospital. My wonderful employer, Samaritan Regional Health Systems, came out to support the community with the purchase of many animals, including several of ours.
The kids use part of the income to place thank yous in the local newspaper.
Michaels hog was purchased by our very generous neighbor.
The kids anxiously await their checks in the mail. They have many ideas on how to spend the money. Amanda is going to purchase a used car and save the rest for college. Daniel wishes to buy a bow for hunting and save for the future. Mike will spend some on next years 4h camp then save most for a future land purchase to start a farm.
They kids are also contributing toward a water and electric line to the barn so we can have automatic livestock waterers. That will mean no need to break ice on the water troughs this year!
I am so indebted to all junior livestock bidders. They make my children motivated to work hard the other 11 months of the year. The selfless giving brought me to tears this year.
A very heartfelt thank you.