This past year’s 4-H livestock auction contained some pretty lucrative creatures, Jocelyn Sikorski says.
The event raised “a quarter million dollars,” and included a pair of pricey foul.
“Two chickens sold for $752. I said, ‘how big are these chickens?’” she said during her report to Genesee County’s Public Service Committee Monday. “I’m excited and looking forward to next week.”
That auction was at the end of the 2021 Genesee County Fair, and, as a result of the pandemic, organizers had opted to go another way with a hybrid model. Sikorski, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Genesee, believes that was key to offering bidders more flexibility to view the animals and bid on them, versus only being able to attend in person at a particular time and date.
“When COVID hit … in 2020 we had to go completely online for the auction, and our auctioneers were able to work with us and do that. So last year, we did a hybrid. Bidding started and people could actually see the livestock online prior, and start putting in their bids,” she said. “And (the auctioneer) actually operated it both live and virtual last year during the event, and I think that really boosted us.”
There was no fair in 2019, and Sikorski also believes that “people wanted to be back out in the community and supporting what was going on in Genesee County, and, really, the county fair last year was the first really big event.”
Before the pandemic, the auction was done in person at the fairgrounds on Route 5. After the success of this past one, the auction will once again be offered in hybrid form, Sikorski said.
The 4-H Market Animal Auction Program allows youth to raise poultry, beef steers, dairy steers, hogs, lambs, and goats for the purpose of selling in the auction at the fair, her report states. Youth gain hands-on experience raising animals while learning important life skills, and the program is “highly supported by local businesses and families,” it states.
Gross sales were “record-breaking,” with a total of $256,723.50 that came from the sale of 35 beef steers, four dairy steers, 16 goats, 52 hogs, 12 lambs and 36 pairs of meat chickens. A 4 percent commission is kept by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee to cover costs incurred with the program, and the remainder goes to the youth participants, she said.
Organizers are anticipating strong participation in 4-H during this year’s fair, and a new cycle will begin on Oct. 1.
The participation of kids with hogs, dairy steers and goats has increased from 2021, and the program is expanding to include rabbits this year. Entries include 79 hogs from 39 youth, which is the largest category of animals in 2022. Participation numbers for hogs, dairy steers and goats are increased from 2021, with beef, lambs and chickens remaining level. The program is expanding to include market rabbits this year, according to Sikorski’s report.
The live auction is to begin at 6:30 p.m. July 28 at the main show ring. To check it out online, go to 4-H Auction
The fair, hosted by Genesee County Agricultural Society, runs from Saturday through July 30, with pre-event horse shows from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and fair queen pageant at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 22. Daily offerings include a balloon display and demonstration, pig racing, pony rides, Niagara Down Under, chain saw carving, radio-controlled car races and Johnny Muttville Comix.
Music entertainment includes Savage Cabbage on July 23, Wail-On Tribute to Waylon Jennings on July 24, karaoke on July 25 and 26, and Audibull on July 30. Many other attractions include a small fry tractor pull, racing at Genesee Speedway, a midway of rides, and many 4-H animal shows.
For the schedule and other details, go to Genesee County Fair or call the "Fair Phone" at (585) 344-2424.
In other news, Sikorski said that the Ag in the Classroom is becoming a “strong and powerful program,” with four public — Batavia, Elba, Byron-Bergen and Oakfield-Alabama — and one parochial -- St. Joe’s — school districts participating.
“I’m glad to hear it’s coming back,” Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said. “The kids really liked that program.”
File photos by Howard Owens.