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RBC | Bill Ekstrom, county extension agent, reports that the final sum from the 2017 County Fair 4-H livestock sales was $189,425 plus another $16,690 in floors and add-ons, totaling $206,115. All these funds accrue to the individual exhibitors except for a very small one-half percent fee for the county to defray fair expenses including reserves to cover certain instances of issues with kids’ animals and the like. Add-ons are amounts directed by donors to specific sellers after the sales. The 2017 fair auction sold 123 total projects (animals).
These figures compare to $155,000 for the 2016 county fair with 112 animals sold. The highest livestock sales income came in 2012 at $293,083 on 156 projects. The highest number of animals sold was in 2008 with 269 animals.
In addition to the add-ons, $6,150 was raised this year at the livestock auction from seven animal re-sales where original buyers turned the animals back to be sold again. These re-sale funds accrue to the county 4-H and scholarship foundations.
The big buyers at the livestock auction this year were C and J Field Services and Big D’s Oil Field Services, each at more than $11,000. Other buyers who spent $5,000 or more included White River Electric Association, Prime Well Service, Master Petroleum, Dan Lapp, Watts Ranch Market, Urie Rock, Susan Stout, Conquest Well, Moody Construction and Sons and Westlands. There were over more than 50 additional buyers as well.
Ekstrom reports that the number of 4-H members has been trending downward in recent years. He attributes the lower numbers to the reduction of livestock and other agricultural business in the county, as well as the downturn in oil and gas. He cites the fact that three years ago, use of the new Rangely community 4-H pens were at capacity and folks were thinking about expansion of the pens, with 10 to 20 projects being housed. This year, only six youth raised animals on the site. In 2017, Ekstrom said the county has 226 4-H members. In 2016, the county had 210 members. Most of the modest increase came in general projects and shooting sports.
County indoor projects that were taken to the State Fair in Pueblo competed this week. This next week the livestock competition takes place.