There will be only a few sad eyes among the young 4-H club members when they part with the animals they have been raising to sell at the market livestock auction Friday and Saturday at Washington County Fair.
Many of these youngsters have lived their whole lives in the heart of farm country, where they’ve known practically since birth the products of their labors are destined for the market, said Stacy Rush of Rush Run Farm in Avella.
“You won’t see too many tears,” Rush said Tuesday, while working the cash register at the busy 4-H milkshake stand at the fair.
“These kids are raised to deal with this. They are prepared,” she said, dispelling the stereotypical image of young farmers clinging in tears to their livestock sold at auction as the animals are taken to a butcher.
Young farmers have been preparing for months to fatten up steers, hogs, lambs, rabbits and goats to make some extra money and also raise money for 4-H scholarships at this fair.
Some buyers with deep pockets purchase animals and then donate them back to 4-H to be sold again for development projects, said Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober, who plans to bid by proxy on either a cow or pig.
“I like beef and I like pork,” Shober said Tuesday, while volunteering at the fair to sell raffle tickets to benefit dyslexic children in the Pittsburgh region.
“I think I will go for something I can eat,” he said.
Shober said he agrees that farm children come from a background where people “survive and live off the farm.”
“The kids will cry if no one bids on their animals,” he said.
Michael Rush, a 4-H member from Avella, said he will be a bit sad to part with his pig, Penelope, when it sells at auction.
“The money makes it easy, though,” said Rush, 18, who hopes to sell the 250-pound animal for $3 a pound and make about $100 after the cost of feed and travel is factored in.
The sale is more about teaching children “how to take care of animals and responsibility,” Michael Rush said.
Meanwhile, Kristin Loughman, 11, of Claysville, did hesitate to say no when asked if she will have trouble saying goodbye to her 4-month-old Suffolk cross lamb named Mike.
Kristin said she plans to invest her auction earnings “into next year’s market lamb.”
Rabbits and goats will be auctioned at 7 p.m. Friday and auction of the steers, hogs and lambs will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the show arena.