A local family continued its winning tradition at this year’s 4-H “Market Steer Auction Sale” held in conjunction with the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s fall fair on Saturday.
The livestock auction, typically considered one of the fair’s most popular attractions, boasted an auctioneer who sought bids from the crowd in a rapid-fire style. Among those bidding were local businesses and farm community members, as well as organizations and individuals who are longtime supporters of 4-H and the fair.
The auction lasted about two hours, during which 24 steers were sold. But, it was the Haw sisters, Morgan and Jessica, of Stratton who walked away with this year’s highest bids.
With last year’s grand champion market steer cashing in at $3.80/pound, 15-year-old Morgan Haw was thrilled when her 1,220-pound steer fetched a $4.65/pound bid at the annual steer auction.
Meanwhile, older sister Jessica Haw, who bred the Reserve Champion Market Steer for the second year running earned the highest bid at $4.85/pound for her 1,195-pound steer.
Car-Dale Tucking and Gillons’ Insurance made the purchases respectively.
“I feel really good,” Jessica Haw enthused.
“I think the amount he sold for is crazy, but I am overjoyed by it,” she expressed.
At 1,220 pounds, the bid translated into a grand total of $5,673 for Haw, who noted that the price served as a signifier of her hard work.
“Every night we had to go out and work with them; lead them, brush them, bath them and shave them—we’ve put in quite a bit of work since we started with them in March,” she explained.
“I am glad that he sold and I am glad that he behaved so well, but I am going to miss him—there have been a few that have made me emotional, but not like this one,” Haw admitted.
Though she noted it was always difficult to part ways with her animals at the end of the season, she said that the overall the experience is rewarding.
“It is amazing to be a part of 4-H,” she expressed.
“Even today, there are so many people here and if they aren’t buying, they are supporting you,”
“You get to go out and be a part of the community and be a role model for the kids who come in and are amazed with the calves.”
“Plus it’s a nice check in the bank for school funds,” she outlined.
Jessica Haw, who will be back to the University of Manitoba in a few weeks, noted that her earnings will also be put towards her university fund and help support her during the second year of her education degree.
“I am pretty excited,” she said.
“I think it went well, better than I expected actually and the prices are outrageous,” she noted of the $3.62/pound average bid showcased at the auction.
“Beef prices went up, but I didn’t expect these prices to go up because they were already sitting at such a high price,” Haw enthused.
But, it will go towards good use,” she laughed.
Haw cited that this year was a unique experience seeing as the siblings were neck-and-neck for most of the judging process, most notably the sportsmanship component.
“It was cool being beside each other the whole day,” she remarked.
But I am not sure if I will be back to do it again next year, it depends on whether or not I move home from Winnipeg,” she added, suggesting it might be her sisters turn to carry on the Haw dynasty.
Kim Jo Bliss, who emceed the event before turning the microphone over to the auctioneer, said that overall the event was a success due to the “super prices” and participation from 4-Hers.
She added that though the auction has an obvious financial benefit, the event aims to teach the economics of agriculture and responsibility.
“If a kid has to buy their own animal and their own feed, there isn’t a whole lot of money left over at the end even with high prices like that—it’s just the fact of farming,” she noted.
“It is great to have these animals for sale, but it isn’t about the $4.85 a pound, there is a lot put into these steers so it teaches life and it teaches agriculture,” continued Bliss.
“In the end it is really just about real life and growing good meat,” she concluded.