4-H began over 100 years ago as an educational program for the nation’s rural youth. Today, it involves more than 6.5 million people and boasts 45 million alumni. 4-H provides learning experiences in which youth grow personally as they develop life skills such as integrity, cooperation, responsibility and communication.
Archuleta County 4-H provides many different projects in which members can participate. The Archuleta County Fair is the climax of a year’s work and activities for 4-H members. One project area we specifically highlight on Saturday night during the county fair is 4-H Livestock.
There are two types of 4-H Livestock projects: market and breeding. Market animals are selected, fed and cared for with the goal of bringing top dollar in an agriculture market at maturity. Breeding projects are aimed at herd management.
Market livestock go through different phases of judging. The first phase of judging is based on “rate of gain.” All animals are weighed at the beginning of their 4-H management and the day before judging. Many factors influence the animals’ rate of gain: quality and quantity of feed, general health and vigor, maturity at the first weigh-in and hereditary factors. Animals of each species that are most efficient in gaining weight will earn special awards.
The second phase of judging is “on the hoof.” A paid judge, experienced in the evaluation of good market traits, compares each animal in the same weight class and ribbons are awarded. These awards determine the auction order. The expense and hard work of the 4-Hers, their parents and leaders are rewarded in a successful livestock auction.
Feeding market livestock is a business venture for 4-hers. Producing a marketable animal that meets quality grading standards and returns a profit can be a challenge. Through an educational livestock marketing program, members acquire knowledge and an understanding of sound livestock production and management practices.
Why support the sale?
On Saturday, Aug. 1, 4-H members offer their market animals to you over the auction block. As a buyer, your purchase will help support a unique educational program for agriculture. These young men and women are learning to produce food for your table. They are also learning how to be in business for themselves. But at their age, their business is on a small scale and their costs are higher than the commercial producer.
Help them achieve success and ensure continued food production by supporting them now. The price you pay today encourages youth participation and is a small investment in the future of American Agriculture. The goal of a championship caliber animal requires that the quality of the animal and of the feed must be of the highest level and additional expenses are incurred for grooming supplies.
Remember; you will encourage free enterprise, receive high quality meat and poultry and good inexpensive advertising, plus the personal satisfaction of investing in our local youth.
• Lambs can weigh 100 to 170 pounds live. Cut and wrapped lambs average a yield of 50 to 85 pounds of processed meat (includes bone).
• Hogs can weigh 220 to 280 pounds live. Cut and wrapped hogs average a yield of 154 to 196 pounds of processed meat.
• Steers must be a minimum weight of at least 1,000 pounds live. Cut and wrapped steers average at least a yield of 600 pounds of processed meat.
• Goats must be a minimum weight of at least 50 pounds live. Cut and wrapped goats will average at least a yield of 25 pounds of processed meat.
• Market Turkey and Meat Pen Rabbits are sold by the head or pen.
• Day of sale — The Auction is held Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Archuleta County Fair in the Livestock Tent at 6:30 p.m. Each buyer must register (starting at 5 p.m.) and be assigned a bidding number. The buyer will receive a program listing all the animals in order of sale, their weights and owners. As each animal enters the ring, the Auctioneer will ask for bids in dollars and cents per pound unless otherwise noted. If you wish to bid on a particular animal, raise your hand or Auction Number. Whether you buy or not, your bidding will help the sale. If you need help in bidding, ask one of the ring men to assist you. The bidding will continue until a final bid is reached. After a successful bid, please keep your number visible to help the people processing the paperwork find you.
• For your freezer — Buyers obtain quality beef, lamb, pork, goat, turkey and rabbit at an attractive price. A quality animal at the auction may actually cost you less than buying your meat at the supermarket at retail price. Businesses can use purchases for employee barbecues.
• Splitting an animal — Multiple buyers are allowed for each animal. If two families want to share the meat from an animal, then pool your money. If noted when obtaining a bid number, billing can reflect each buyer’s percentage of the purchase (quarter or halves only please).
• Add-on Money — This is money added on top of the sale price, not built into the price. Add-ons are a good way to support the youth if you are unable to purchase an animal. Add-ons are a flat fee, either per 4-Her, all 4-Hers, per species or all animals. You must be a registered buyer to add on money. Add-ons are done at the time of sale at the computer desk prior to paperwork being processed. You may do this at any time during the auction. It is preferred that payments be made on the day of the auction and they can be made by cash or check.
• Payment and delivery policy — We prefer payment on the date of the sale. Payment may be made by cash or check. Checks should be made payable to Archuleta County 4-H Livestock.
After you buy
• For your convenience — If you are the high bidder, the 4-Her will present you with a buyer basket or gift with a disposition or cut sheet. At that time you must indicate the disposition of the animal as follows:
• Resell to the packer — Market price will be established the night of the sale by a packer’s bid. If you do not want the meat, you may sell the animal you purchased to the packer. The amount you paid over market price is tax deductible. This may be done with lambs, hogs, steer and goats.
• Donation without possession — Indicate on the cut sheet that you would like for the meat of the animal to be donated to a local charity. You may also donate the animal back to the 4-Her. You pay all total costs associated with the bid but the person receiving the animal can choose to process or take the animal.
• Custom process and return — All animals will be automatically shipped to San Juan Meats, Kirkland, N.M., with the exception of Meat Pen rabbits and Market Turkeys for processing, unless otherwise noted. Fill out the cut sheet with cut and wrap instructions or speak to the processing representatives the night of the auction. About six weeks after the auction, they will deliver all of the meat to the fairgrounds. On this day, you will pay the meat locker directly for processing charges.
• Advertising — As a buyer, you obtain advertising value that accrues through the purchase of these animals. When you purchase a 4-H animal, the 4-H member will provide you with a certificate of appreciation after the fair to be displayed in your place of business. Your name will be listed in the local newspaper, displayed in next year’s Livestock Tent and in next year’s livestock auction book.
So, plan your county fair week around one of Pagosa’s favorite annual events — the Archuleta County 4-H Livestock Auction. 4-Hers are very proud of the animals that they have raised. Remember, top-quality means great meat for you. Come to the annual 4-H Chuck Wagon Dinner beforehand from 4:30 to 6 p.m and fill up. Be sure to stay for the Fair Dance with Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge Band playing tunes until midnight.