Saturday Sep 06 2008
By: Bruce Warren, Journal Staff Writer
Parting is sweet sorrow for animal owners in Junior Livestock Auction
Some of the steers and hogs auctioned Saturday at the Gold Country Fair will feed hungry, unemployed residents who visit Auburn’s Salvation Army, thanks to the Feed the Hungry program. The Junior Livestock Auction has been a tradition at the fair for many years. Members of 4-H clubs and Placer Future Farms of America bring their animals to the fair to be sold. For Alyssa Alger, 14, a freshman at Lincoln High School, selling her steer, Democrat, for $2,967 was rewarding. But when she wakes up the next day, the 1,125-pound steer will no longer be in her pasture. Alyssa, an FFA member, has been caring for Democrat for the past 10 months with feedings at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. “It’s sad to let him go, but when you know it’s going to a good cause, it makes you feel better,” she said Saturday. Democrat was the first steer purchased by the Feed the Hungry program, which spent $28,000 at the auction for meat that will be donated to the Salvation Army. “The community has really given well for this,” Major Ed Loomis, head of the local Salvation Army, said at the fair Saturday during the Junior Livestock Auction. “Ken Tokutomi and his group (Feed the Hungry) work all year long so they can buy this food. Fresh meat is a real rarity at the Salvation Army. To give fresh meat for those who come to us for help, we wouldn’t normally have that option.” Alyssa’s steer, which she has been raising on her family’s 10-acre farm, sold for $2.50 a pound. “I fed him a grain called Sweet Stuff and Oat Hay,” Alyssa said. “I feed him a lot of that to make him good tender meat.” Alyssa received a lot of help from her uncle, J.C. Baser. “She started raising these steers when they were little,” Baser said. “She’s been consistent with how she cares for it. She’s taken a lot of time to make the steer as gentle as it is.” Democrat may be gentle in his home pasture, but after coming out of the gated area at Saturday’s auction, he was snorting and growling. But Alyssa said he’s really just a big puppy and got nervous at the auction after being around men. Democrat’s 1,125 pounds is a lot of weight to handle, but Alyssa has raised bigger, such as a 2,000-pound steer she had when she was 9. Hummer, one of the first steers for auction, also sold for $2.50 per pound, and owner Joleen Evans, 15, with the Lincoln FAA, was pleased to get that price. Her steer also placed second in the lightweight class. She had been raising Hummer on her family’s 30-acre farm in Lincoln for the past 17 months. “This is the best price I’ve gotten,” Joleen said. “You feed them every day and wash them every day, and then you feel sad the next day when they’re not there. But it’s OK because I’m doing it next year.” Success in the FAA program comes with work, according to Joleen’s mother, Colette Evans. “Dedication, responsibility and consistency are the keys to doing well, and putting God first,” Colette Evans said. She, too, was pleased with the price the animal brought. “The cost of fuel and feed has driven up the cost to raise an animal and I think the buyers realize that,” Colette Evans said. “The buyers always step up and make it work for the kids.” Steers were not the only animals being auctioned. Ducks, hogs and lambs, among other animals, were up for bid. Megan Schroeder, 18, a freshman at Sierra College and a Placer High School graduate, was thrilled when her 152-pound, grand-champion market lamb sold for $30 a pound, as Longhorn Meat Company made the highest bid for Lazer Viking. “That’s so amazing, $30 a pound, that’s very good,” said Schroeder, a member of Placer FAA. Schroeder, who has been raising lambs for the past nine years, bought the lamb from Karen Fish. “Megan did an awesome job,” Fish said. “She’s been buying lambs from me for nine years. This year, I told her she could have the pick of the lambs and obviously she picked a good one. This is the first year she had a grand champion.” Megan’s father, Ken Schroeder, pointed out that his daughter had to compete with lambs purchased in other states. “A lot of people go out of state to buy their lambs, but Megan’s lamb is raised locally,” Ken Schroeder said. Megan’s mother, Jenny Schroeder, said she was extremely proud of her daughter’s efforts. “She’s worked with sheep since she was 9 years old,” Jenny Schroeder said. “She loves showmanship, but the first time she did it she was crying.” The Gold Country Fair continues today, opening at 12:30. Skynnyn Lynnyrd Reloaded is scheduled to play its final set on the Coors County Stage at 9 p.m. The Boosters Talent Show will start at 2 p.m. on the same stage. The group Aquanett plays on the Budweiser Stage at 5 p.m. The Puppets & Players Theater, along with Kids World, has shows at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., along with a host of other offerings. The Journal’s Bruce Warren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment online at Auburnjournal.com.