04/21/06 — High bids take home livestock champions

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High bids take home livestock champions

By Turner Walston
Published in News on April 21, 2006 1:50 PM

Courtney Butler had never shown a hog before. So when the first-grader took 270-pound Wilber into the ring at the Junior Livestock Show and Sale Thursday, she didn't know what to expect. She certainly didn't expect to be crowned Grand Champion out of the 45 competitors entered.

Courtney's parents, Jeff and Julie Butler, raise Boer goats on their Grantham farm. Courtney has been showing goats since the age of 5, and said there's a difference between goats and hogs.

Handlers can't exactly "set up," a hog. "You have to pull the goat," Courtney said, "and you have to slap the pig."

Jeff said Courtney's interest in showing animals was furthered with Sheila Massey's Rebels, a 4-H club out of Grantham.

At the Show and Sale, hogs are sold at support price to buyers. Then, individual hogs are bid on by sponsors. In total, children receive the support price in addition the amount of the bid price.

Auctioneer Don Massey captivated the room with his chant, and the animals went fast.

Twenty-three hogs with an average weight of 250.2 pounds were sold to Nahunta Pork Center at 39 cents per pound, for a total of $2,244.45. Mike Reaves Livestock purchased 22 hogs at an average weight of 275.9 pounds for 38.5 cents per pound, at a total of $2,336.95.

Eileen Coite, livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, said this year's Show and Sale was a smooth operation.

"The animals went for really good prices. I don't think it could have gone much better, to be honest," she said.

Ms. Coite said the handlers sometimes have a hard time saying goodbye to animals they have worked with for weeks and months.

"I think they'll be sad for a couple days, but then they'll be looking forward to next year and doing it again. It's been a big week for them."

Ms. Coite said participants in the Show and Sale were either Wayne County residents, or participated in Wayne County 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs.

The show and sale is an opportunity for children to learn the value of hard work, Ms. Coite said.

"I think it teaches them responsibility, but it also for a lot of them it teaches them about teamwork and sportsmanship and working together on things and learning from each other. I think that's one of the most important things that they get out of it."

Mt. Olive Livestock Market bought 25 goats at 1.25 per pound, for a total of $1,925.

Grand Champion Rachel McCullen sold her 80-pound goat for $576, plus the support price, for a total of $676.

Lehman Smith bought five calves at the support price of $1.075 per pound for a total of $2,810.

Jesse Grady's Grand Champion-winning 615-pound feeder calf sold for $2,275 plus support price, for a total of $2936,13.

Courtney Butler's hog was the first animal to be sold. Murphy-Brown LLC paid $3 per pound for Wilber. With the support price, Courtney will receive $915.30.

Although her father said the money would go toward school, Courtney said she would show hogs every year if she could always take home that amount.