Greg Haglin may be only 15 years old but he knows how to raise a good steer, with his entry taking the 4-H Grand Champion Market Steer title Saturday at the fall fair in Emo.
Haglin was able to sell his steer, which weight 1,230 pounds, for $2.75/lb, earning him $3,382.50 from the buyer, TJ Kaemingh and Sons.
Both the judges’ decision and the price for his limousin steer came as a surprise to Haglin.
“I didn’t realize he was better than most others there," he admitted. "I wasn’t thinking [the bidding] would go that high with cattle prices being so low.”
Saturday’s payday rewarded almost a year’s work for Haglin. His method for raising the large animal was simple enough—he let his steer make a pig of itself.
“I just gave him all the water and hay he could,” he said, noting his steer required about three hours of attention each day.
Candice Wiersema’s steer was reserve champion for the fair, weighing in at 1,165 pounds and sold to Safeway for $2.30/lb.
The lowest bid at the auction was $1.05/lb, with the average price being $1.67/lb. Two dozen steers made it to the auction ring and all of them found buyers.
“I think the auction went really well," noted local 4-H president Debbie Zimmerman. "The animals were looking good and the buyers were still there.”
Zimmerman noted some of the prices were a little lower than the average last year but believed the kids who brought their steers to the auction got a good price for the most part.
Things went just as easily when the steers were shipped to Burn’s Meats in Winnipeg for slaughter.
“They went out Sunday morning," Zimmerman said. "They’ll be coming back to Arnie’s General Store in Crozier on Thursday.”
While the steer auction gets a lot of attention every year at the fair, Zimmerman noted money isn’t the major benefit kids get from doing a 4-H steer project.
“I think it’s dedication," she said. ”They learn the basics of everything. They have to get up every morning and do chores, house the animal—it’s like a summer job.
“[Haglin] is definitely dedicated to the project and helps out anyone else who needs it," she added. "He definitely meet the motto ‘Learn to do by doing.’”
Haglin admitted the money is part of the reason he’s been raising steers for the last few years but stressed the experience was more important to him.
In fact, he already has his steer picked out for next year. But as for the money he’ll be getting from this year’s steer?
“I don’t know," he laughed. "I’ll put it in the bank or something. Keep it.”