By Laura K. Snell and Lizzeth Mendoza
University of California Cooperative Extension - Modoc County
Article was originally posted on Modoc Record on June 25, 2020.
4-H and FFA members competing in their market class.
The Modoc County Junior Livestock Show & Sale has been held since 1948. This year’s sale was unique in that it was the first Junior Livestock Show and Sale to take place in California since COVID-19 uprooted our lives. The event was held June 8-12 with the sale on Friday, June 12th. We had a total of 119 exhibitors ranging 5-19 years old from 4-H and FFA exhibit their beef, goat, horse, rabbit, chicken, sheep, and swine projects this year.
With this year’s challenges associated with COVID-19, many changes had to be made as early as April for livestock tagging for the show. A drive-by tagging was facilitated by Junior Show Board members for the first time. As the actual show approached, class sizes were decreased to under ten exhibitors, the annual social and awards ceremony were cancelled, and gallons of hand sanitizer were ordered. These changes and more helped the show be approved by our local public health and keep our community safe while providing experiences that taught youth valuable life skills. Judges in all species were given more time with youth in the smaller class sizes to teach ideal livestock qualities, showmanship techniques, and foster adult/youth and peer-to-peer education. In one showmanship class, the judge asked exhibitors to get on the microphone and tell Governor Newsom why Junior Livestock Shows were important.
Confidence, public speaking, livestock judging, problem solving, and resiliency are just a few of the skills youth learned throughout the week. Animal projects also teach record keeping, goal setting, and financial management. At the end of the week, the auction was set up to increase spacing including additional seats and a drive-thru community BBQ. There was a Facebook live option for those who were unable to attend with over 1200 people watching the auction online. The option to contribute through a buyer’s pool or check donation remotely was also available before the auction. Friday night we saw a substantial amount of community support with buyers contributing from
Collin (4-H member) receiving advice from Steven Pozzi (Livestock Judge)
all over the region including Klamath Falls, Fall River, and Redding. The drive thru barbeque went excepcionally well, selling out within an hour. The youth spent a lot of time going to local businesses, inviting them to the auction and marketing their animals while also enhancing their marketing and outreach skills. Overall, there was over $200,000 contributed to this year’s sale. Prices were up slightly from years past and buyers were guaranteed processing at local butcher shops that are booked up through the summer. Youth use this money to pay for their livestock projects and additional money is used to buy their first cars, save for college, start cattle herds and much more. A small commission also goes to support future Modoc Junior Livestock Shows.
This year’s sale could not have been possible without all of the community support. We want to thank everyone for coming together and supporting our youth while also overcoming the many challenges and changes that COVID-19 has brought. We are blessed by a community that provides so much to our youth through mentoring, award sponsorships, volunteering, and financial contributions.
Madison (4-H member) with mom and family
If you are curious on how influential traditional market animal projects are to youth development and 4-H enrollment, check out this research that was recently published in California Agriculture. http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.2020a0008
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