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Fair is culmination of year-long investment

By Staff | Sep 1, 2017

Chronicle photos by Toni Milbourne Lonnie Anderson shows his 266-pound market hog to potential bidders at the livestock auction at the Jefferson County Fair. Jefferson Security Bank purchased the hog at $3.30 per pound.

KEARNEYSVILLE – Each year young men and women make a choice, in either 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA), to raise and then show an animal at the Jefferson County Fair.

While selecting a young animal, whether it be a calf, a kid, a lamb or a piglet, the excitement of holding and playing with a baby animal is often uppermost in the mind of the youth. But responsibility and dedication are quickly learned as each owner settles into the daily routine of taking care of a living animal.

It is the responsibility of each FFA student and 4-H member to feed and care for their fair animal project. In addition, they must work with the animals so that when fair season rolls around, they are able to show the animal, maintaining control and demonstrating their skill.

Once the showing is done and the close of the fair draws near, the youth must decide whether to take their animal back home or offer it for sale at the annual livestock auction that takes place on the final Saturday.

This year, scores of animals were brought to the show barn for individuals to bid upon. Many bidding represented local businesses who annually come support the efforts of the fair participants.

Wesley Ware once again served as the auctioneer with several helpers in the crowd, including auctioneer Densil Nibert and some of his staff. They watched, with keen eyes, as bidders raised their numbered cards for specific animals throughout the afternoon.

First on the auction block were hogs. There were 54 sold before moving on to steers, goats, lambs – and even some rabbits.

According to fair manager Todd Wilt, the livestock sale this year grossed more than $150,000 as each animal was sold for a per pound price, often giving a tidy sum to the selling exhibitor.

“While not all exhibitors save, most do, which means a large portion of this money goes toward the youth exhibitor’s college or other post secondary savings,” Wilt said.

Many businesses were bidders for multiple animals throughout the sale, including local banks like Bank of Charles Town and Jefferson Security Bank. Guy’s Buick/GMC was a winner multiple times, as were many others.

“I was glad to support five young men and women by purchasing two lambs, two goats and contributing to the purchase of the ‘gallon of milk’ from the Supreme Dairy Champion,” said Locke Wysong, Jr., of Wysong Farms. “All of the exhibitors work hard and it’s a pleasure to see their project year come full circle. Learning life skills through agriculture is a great thing.”

According to Wilt, the act of the community coming together to support future farmers is a thing to behold.

“It’s encouraging that the community shows such strong support for these youth and takes an interest in their endeavors,” Wilt said.