Local 4-H members prep for online sales
For 13-year-old Layla Buzzard, who’s raised pigs to take to the county fair for the past five years, this year has been “a little odd.” Layla still plans to sell a pig, but that will happen virtually, through a video auction.
Buzzard and 15 other youths in the Methow Valley Cascaders 4-H Club hope they’ll still earn money for their hard work, but fair isn’t just about the financial pay-off.
One of the things Layla likes most about the Okanogan County Fair — she’s been going loyally for nine years — is learning from the judges. “It’s nice to know what they looked for, and what to do to improve next year,” she said. Layla usually tours all the barns to look at projects to get new ideas and learn ways to improve. “It’s nice to have people to look up to, even if I don’t know them,” she said.
Buying an animal at auction
The virtual market-animal auction — more than 125 animals in all — is from Monday through Thursday (Sept. 7-10).
To bid on an animal, pre-register at http://www.bestbidonlineauctions.com. Follow the “Register to Bid” tab at the bottom of the page. Log in starting Sept. 7 to bid. Invoices will be sent out on Sept. 11 and are payable by check, cash or money order.
For assistance, call the fair office at (509) 322-1621 or Emily Buzzard at (509) 341-9069. The fair office can handle bid instructions for people who don’t have a computer.
More information is available at http://www.okanogancounty.org/fair.
Then again, this year, Layla had a lot more time to spend with her pigs and rabbits, since she wasn’t in school seven hours a day.
This year in 4-H, there are 12 kids raising pigs, two raising lambs and two raising steer, according to Emily Buzzard, Layla’s mother and co-leader of the Cascaders. While other local kids have raised chickens and rabbits, none plan to sell them through the virtual Fur and Feathers auction.
It won’t feel quite like fair without the grunts, squeals and peeps and the aroma of the barns. But people can still support local youths by purchasing their animals through the four-day online auction, Buzzard said.
This year would have been the 73rd-annual fair. When the main event was canceled, most people just shrugged and said, “It is what it is,” Buzzard said. “It’s not that interest fizzled — they’re just exhausted. That’s no surprise — it’s such a disappointment. They just decided to take a break. I don’t blame them.”
All 4-H activities were virtual this year, since the group wasn’t able to meet in person, although kids with experience raising animals stopped by to give pointers to other club members. Kids have submitted short videos that simulate the fitting and showing so judges can place their animals for the auction, Buzzard said.
In addition to the fact that everything is remote, bidding on livestock will be different this year. Animals will be sold for a flat rate by the head, not by the pound, Buzzard said.
“It’s difficult to say how it will work. I hope people will continue to support the kids. The kids still have animals and need support. With all the uncertainty and frustration of this year, some need it more than usual,” Buzzard said. “At least this will make things feel somewhat normal.”