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Local ag students to auction livestock

Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H Livestock are hosting an auction where purchasers can buy meat from the lambs, goats, poultry, rabbits, hogs and steers raised by Sonoma Valley program participants. The 2021 Sonoma County Fair Junior Livestock Auction will take place on Saturday, July 31, at 11 a.m. and Sunday, Aug. 1 at 10 a.m.; interested purchasers are invited to attend live or virtually.

Bringing animals to market is fundamental to the teaching goals of these agricultural programs, and a key way that students recoup the cost of participation. Students invest money in the purchase of their animals and the subsequent feed, equipment and veterinary care they need. They spend hundreds of hours before and after school feeding, cleaning, grooming and exercising their livestock, learning how to produce food in a sustainable, profitable way. Students learn responsibility, time management and develop problem solving skills, program administrators say.

Animals at the Junior Livestock Auction will be sold by the head instead of by the pound, as in years past. Rabbits and poultry purchases may not be split, but lambs and goats may be divided between two parties; hogs can be divided between four; and steers may be sectioned into eighths, with caveats.

Purchases help support local agricultural programs and their participants, many of whom re-invest their earnings into subsequent projects or continuing education. Buyers may elect to “add-on” an extra donation, share their meats with family or friends, resell the meat to participating butcher shops, or donate the purchased animal to local nonprofits, including Redwood Empire Food Bank, Hanna Boys Center, Food for Thought, and Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH), among others. All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Prospective buyers must register prior to the auction, and are advised to peruse the livestock auction brochure in advance. Those interested in attending the auction in person should arrive on time to 1350 Bennett Valley Road. Virtual attendance can be arranged through a link at Sonomacountyfair.com.

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