News Column

4-H livestock auction popular at fair; Proceeds help send kids to college

August 1, 2014

By Kelley Christensen, The Montana Standard, Butte

Aug. 01--Despite Silver Bow County's focus on mining, two popular 4-H clubs and a community-supported livestock auction bring the area's agriculture to the forefront during the fair every year.

And for the children whose animals are sold, the auction can be lucrative.

In this year's livestock auction, which is 7 p.m. Friday at the Butte Civic Center -- 40 kids are selling 64 market animals -- steers, hogs and lambs. In the past, children have also sold pheasants, ducks and turkeys.

Joriann Heikkinen, 15, is showing a miniature Hereford steer and a Yorkshire hog, cleverly named Chip and Dip. It's her seventh year as a member of the Confederates 4-H Club.

"We do so good. We get great prices on our sales compared to other counties," Heikkinen said. "I like watching (the animals) grow, but then it's really sad because you have to sell them. You say you don't get attached, but you do. They're market

animals, not pets, but it's

still hard."

The prices the livestock command are higher than your average pound of beef at the grocery store, but the money often goes into a kid's college fund. Selling a hog for $3,000 or a steer for $5,000 can cover a good chunk of a semester's tuition at an in-state college.

That's why many businesses and individuals around town open their wallets and bid


Regular patrons of the Metals Sports Bar and Grill might remember "Bubba burgers" or "Champ burgers" in years past -- Bubba and Champ were steers bought at the fair auction. Hogs purchased are processed for sausage.

"We're civic-minded and we like to give back to the community," said Ray Ueland, who owns Metals, and purchases a hog and a steer at the auction every year. "4-H is a great program for the community."

Ray's brother Ron chimed in about the importance of the auction and involving county youth in agriculture.

"We need to get these kids exposed to agriculture, and participating in these contests is a great way," Ron said. "(In cities like Butte is) where we need more exposure, so the urban population gets more appreciation for what agriculture is all about."


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Source: Montana Standard (Butte)

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