Here’s a fun fact that many Orange County residents may not know about the OC Fair: there is a flourishing livestock community in the county, and their time to shine is at the Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday, July 22, at the 2017 OC Fair.
Last year, a total of 293 animals were sold for more than $256,700. This year’s auction is ready to aim even higher.
Participants – Orange County residents ages 9 to 19 – will bring their pigs, broilers, calves, goats, beef, rabbits, lambs and turkeys to auction off to supporters. The proceeds will go directly to Orange County 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs, which will then go to the students so they can recoup their expenses and fund future projects.
4-H is a nationwide organization that aims to educate the youth on agriculture and empowers them through extracurricular projects focused on citizenship, healthy living and science. These projects are designed to focus on the four H’s: head, heart, hands and health.
FFA is a national youth organization that prepares middle and high school students for a life in global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resource systems.
Preparing for the Junior Livestock Auction starts long before the day in the show ring. It takes exhibitors anywhere between three and nine months to make their animals auction-ready.
The students bring their animals in for judging on July 14, 15, 16 and 19 and the animals are placed into two categories, blue ribbon and red ribbon, based on the animal’s health and adherence to standards. If the animals are given a blue ribbon, then they are market-ready and move on to the auction on July 22.
The young exhibitors see if their hard work pays off on the day of the auction, where supporters come to bid on the animals.
There are several options if the buyers are not interested in taking the animal they purchase home with them. Auctioneers can do a buyback, where the animal is taken and resold at a commercial market price. The proceeds from their bid and its resale go towards four predetermined programs or scholarships: Orange County 4-H, Centennial Farm Foundation, James Bailey Scholarship and Bobbi Rach and Diane Siebert Scholarship.
The Centennial Farm Foundation, run by the OC Fair & Event Center’s Centennial Farm, is aimed at helping farmers break even on their projects. If a young farmer’s project sells for less than the student put in, the Centennial Farm Foundation steps in and helps recoup the remaining loss of money so that the farmer can break even.
Since the auction is only open to Orange County 4-H members, and the program runs only on donations, donating to the Orange County 4-H is extremely beneficial. Because Orange County is such an industrial area, the young exhibitors must go through great lengths to care and raise their animals. The exhibitors learn to market themselves in order to interest buyers to donate to their cause.
To help the exhibitors even more, the auction has an add-on program. An add-on is a tip given to particular exhibitor as a form of monetary support. Buyers can award a certain exhibitor if they believe that the student excelled at their livestock project and wants to help support that student with their education, future projects, or life expenses.
With the amount of time and money young exhibitors spend preparing their animals for this one auction, the event is sure to be a rewarding experience for both exhibitors and spectators. Support the exhibitors on July 22 at the Junior Livestock Auction at the OC Fair. The auction begins at 10 a.m. and goes until every animal is sold.