The Ottawa County Fair Premium Sale of livestock Friday night raised $87,750 for the young people who raised animals and competed for honors at the week-long fair.
“It's just great that someone thinks about me and wants to support me,” said Emma Barnes, 16, of Wyandotte. Barnes ran a Semmental heifer through the ring Friday and received $1,200 for her work in bringing the animal to the livestock show.
In the premium sale, the animals that move through the sales ring are sold to buyers - local business owners for the most part - who wish to support the efforts of young people involved in programs such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America. In the premium sale, buyers do not receive the animal as a result of their winning bids, but pay to acknowledge the young people participating in the annual livestock show.
“It costs a lot just to feed these animals,” said auctioneer Sonny Booth, whose daughter Rachel brought a Limousin steer to the show. “With the cost of grain like it is today, these kids and their families have made a significant investment in getting these animals to the county fair.”
Young people showing animals at the county fair have invested between $500 and $1,000 in raising a goat or sheep, between $1,200 and $1,800 in a pig and a minimum of $4,000 in a steer or heifer, according to Stan Fimple, the Oklahoma State University Extension agent in Ottawa County.
A total of 67 animals - cattle, pigs, sheep and goats - went through the sales ring Friday and none sold for less than $500. The grand-champion steer, a cross-bred shown by Lindsey Hough of Miami, topped the sale at $5,000.
“These young people are the future of our community and some of them are our future farmers,” said Harrell Post, a Miami real estate broker who partnered to purchase premiums on several animals Friday. “I think as business people we need to support that. We need to recognize our young people for the work they've put into their animals.”