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Raising 4-H, FFA critters builds values

By: Julie Eng Journal Correspondent
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Placer County 4-H club and Future Farmers of America members are in the final days of preparation before their animals are auctioned off at the Gold Country Fair on Saturday. Livestock arrived at the fairgrounds throughout the day on Wednesday, where months of hard work will continue, said June Stewart, Placer County 4-H program representative. Chloe Romero of Foresthill and Evelyn Thais, both FFA members, were at the fairgrounds Wednesday getting their pigs settled in pens. Romero has been in the agriculture education program for five years, while Thais is going into her fourth. The girls are looking forward to participating in the various competitions with their animals. “We like showmanship best, because you get an opportunity to show how hard you’ve worked,” Romero said. Madison Goss, 11, of the Flatlands 4-H club in Lincoln, is excited about the fair as well. Madison will be entering her lamb, Joey, and her hog, Lulu, in the Junior Livestock Auction. Madison explained that the work doesn’t stop once you get your animal to the fairgrounds. Livestock owners have to work to keep their animals clean, fed, and comfortable. For Lulu, that means having Joey in her pen. To quiet the nervous pig, Madison brought the lamb up from the sheep enclosure to keep the hog company. Once Lulu saw a familiar face she calmed down, and Madison was able to continue prepping the animals for competition. Madison and the other livestock owners will handle plenty of situations like this one in the days before the auction. FFA and 4-H members are rewarded for their hard work with the money they earn from the auction. Ken Campbell of Lincoln, whose daughters Carissa and Alicia Campbell are members of the Mt. Pleasant 4-H sheep group, said that many of the kids put their earnings toward college. This year, his daughters plan to use their money to buy supplies for their horses. Campbell said supporting 4-H and FFA members is important because the organizations play an important role in teaching the kids involved about hard work and handling money. “4-H and FFA are good in that they train the kids to be business people,” Campbell said. Not only do club members have to raise their animals, but they learn to sell them, and to keep track of what they earn. Campbell also stressed the importance of bidding at the auction to support local charities. With money from the Rotary Club and some of his own funds, Campbell buys meat to donate to The Salt Mine, a Lincoln charity that offers food and support to families in need. The Salvation Army Food Closet also receives a number of the animals sold at the auction, bought and donated by local nonprofit Feed the Hungry. Ken Tokutomi, co-founder of the group, said their primary goals are to support local students involved in agriculture programs, and to supply the food closet with much-needed food.