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Livestock buyers invest in young farmers at the Del Norte County Fair auction

Karayna Bocock holds her grand champion roaster rabbit. Del Norte Triplicate / Melea Burke
Karayna Bocock holds her grand champion roaster rabbit. Del Norte Triplicate / Melea Burke
At 10 years old, Jarrod Dixon was one of the smallest boys at the livestock auction on Sunday. His animal, a 1,288-pound steer, was one of the largest.

Jarrod, who is in his first year with the Fort Dick Grange, wrestled the animal, which was taller than him, into the seller’s pen, gripping the halter and forcing it to face the buyers. Hemmingsen Construction placed the winning bet at $3.25 per pound. 

Jarrod walked away with roughly $4,186 to put away for college.

“(A steer) is not for beginners,” he said.

Jarrod and more than 75 other youngsters with local Grange, 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs presented more than 100 animals to potential buyers at the 2014 Junior Livestock Auction on Sunday.

After giving their buyers a barbecue lunch, the young farmers went back to the barns to make sure their pig, lamb, goat or rabbit was looking its best. Poultry, including ducks, chickens and turkeys, were also sold at the auction.

“We’re going and growing and doing well,” said Blake Alexandre, chairman of the auction committee. “We’re at about the same number as the last couple of years. We expect to have a good sale.”

Blake said the barbecue lunch prior to the auction was a way for Grange, 4-H and FFA members to show their appreciation to their buyers. Some, like Ward and Debby Stover, owner of Stover Engineering and Del Norte Office Supply, have been purchasing animals at the Junior Livestock Auction for years, he added.

This is the Stovers’ 13th year purchasing animals at the auction. Ward Stover said he and his wife typically purchase lambs, pigs and steers from kids who have taken the time to visit them at their work and talk to them about their animals.

“We feel that marketing is a huge part of the lesson,” Debby Stover said. “We have a lot of young adults who come to us. And we meet a lot here. We like to hear their story.”

Once they purchase the animal, the Stovers typically share the meat with their family and the employees at their businesses. Ward Stover said the meat he and his wife purchases at the auction is the only red meat they buy all year.

“We heard that all the steers were branded in Del Norte County and most of the lambs,” he said.

“We plan our summer around the auction,” Debby Stover added. 

New at this year’s auction is an incentive for those youngsters whose animal made grand champion, said Angela Hanks, a representative of Shamrock 4-H. In addition to auctioning off their grand champion animal,  the owner is given a chance to pick another animal to auction off.

“It’s an incentive to do the best you can and raise the best quality you can,” Hanks said. “Most (kids) end up going out of town and paying quite a pretty penny for these animals.”

Grange members Lucas Shoemaker, 15, and his sister Carly, 11, got their animals, Suffolk cross lambs they named Duke and Hazzard, in January. The lambs were 9 months old at the time and weighed between 90 and 91 pounds. 

Now Hazzard, who belongs to Lucas, weighed 115 pounds at Wednesday’s pre-auction weigh-in. And Duke, Carly’s lamb, weighed 117 pounds.

“This is both our first year doing sheep or any animal,” Lucas said, adding that he and his sister recently moved to Del Norte from Woodland. “We were not expecting to do as well.”

Lucas sold his lamb to Julindra Recycling and William Follett for $4.25 a pound. Carly sold her lamb to Darren McElfresh for $4 per pound.

Grand Champions of the 2014 Junior Livestock Auction:

K’Marie Magray, Pine Grove 4-H, Pen 2 ducks at 19 pounds

Simone Magarino, Sunrise 4-H, swine at 275 pounds

Karayna Bocock, Pine Grove 4-H, roaster rabbit at 7 pounds

Taylor Jones, Wild River 4-H, goat at 80 pounds 

K’Marie Magray, Pine Grove 4-H, roaster pen at 37 pounds

Connor Smith, FFA, steer at 1,258 pounds

Isaac Alvarez, FFA, layer pen of 3 hens at 17 pounds

Brinkley Webb, Sunrise 4-H, stewer rabbit at 10 pounds

Blair Westbrook, Sunrise 4-H, lamb at 143 pounds

Ebbn Harper, Grange, turkey at 25 pounds

Ashlee Hicks, Sunrise 4-H, Pen 3 fryer at 14 pounds

K’Marie Magray, Pine Grove 4-H, fryer pen at 12 pounds

Reach Jessica Cejnar at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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