THE 2019 GRAND CHAMPION BEEF STEER, shown by Isla Britten, weighed in at 1,238 pounds and was sold for $4 per pound to Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Ovid Elevator Co. and Countryside Seed Service.

   Due to the pandemic, the Shiawassee County Fair was cancelled this year, but exhibitors will still be showing off their livestock market projects – online. The public is invited to join in and support these kids and their efforts in producing quality livestock.

(Independent File Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)

   As announced in May, the Shiawassee County Fair Board moved to cancel the 2020 fair due to the ongoing pandemic. This difficult decision was a disappointment to everyone involved, including the board, which is composed of community members that are parents, 4-H leaders and assorted volunteers, who are dedicated to the fair – a cornerstone county event.

   Yet, though 2020 is marked by the cancellation of numerous festivals and fairs, it has also provided various organizations with the opportunity to develop fresh ways to go forward. This is true of the fair board, having been diligent in developing a plan to help youth livestock exhibitors with this year’s market projects.

   So what does all of this entail? An online auction for the 2020 Shiawassee County Small Animal Association sale, hosted by Sheridan Auction Services, will be held Sunday, Aug. 2 and Saturday, Aug. 8. The sale will include a number of goats, rabbits, ducks, chickens and turkeys with lots being sold by the head.

   Exhibitors have been encouraged to send prospective buyers information on their projects, along with information on accessing the auction site, obtaining an account and so forth. A small animal sales catalog will soon be made available online.

   The Shiawassee County Small Animal Assoc. dates back to the 1990s when a group came together to offer the same opportunities to youth exhibitors as was provided to large animal exhibitors. Since that start, the Shiawassee County Small Animal Assoc. has grown and now includes over 150 youth exhibitors with sales reaching up to $59,000 for the kids.

   Beyond the Small Animal Association sale, the Shiawassee County Junior Livestock Association is having a large animal auction, also hosted by Sheridan. The event will similarly be held online starting Saturday, Aug. 1 and going through Friday, Aug. 7. This sale will include beef, dairy beef, hogs and sheep, and a catalog will soon be available along with this, too.

   The Shiawassee County Junior Livestock Association goes back to 1971 in support of large market species such as beef, swine and sheep. Over previous years, the association has contributed in numerous ways to improve the fairgrounds, along with the Small Animal Assoc., the 4-H Council, Friends of the Fair … and all of the groups that come together in support of the Shiawassee County Fair.

   What does the Shiawassee County Small Animal Assoc. and Junior Livestock Assoc. bring to the public? Every year, 4-H and FFA market livestock exhibitors and youth from throughout Shiawassee County, make a large investment in their market projects – in time, work, training and money. Most of these members had invested in their market projects months prior to COVID-19 limiting events in Michigan. Many participants begin planning and investing for the following fair as soon as the current one ends, nearly a year in advance.

   However, the livestock these kids have developed are going to soon be ready for market and the public is encouraged to support these dedicated exhibitors through online participation.

   Levi Zdunic, President of the Shiawassee County Fair, shared his stance regarding the board and the auction that they “still needed to showcase what those kids have done. We don’t want to lose what generations have worked to build.” Zdunic explained, “There is no playbook to running a fair. You have to keep moving forward no matter what.” Instead of being overwhelmed with the pandemic and the fair cancellation, Zdunic said he thinks that what the board has been able to learn in 2020 will continue to help in 2021 – as the online auctions will bring in a new group of buyers, allowing the Shiawassee County Fair the opportunity for buyer growth in the future.

   Troy Crowe of Sheridan Auction Service stated he believes it is important that everybody understands that all proceeds from these auctions are going in support of the exhibitors. Crowe is offering the services of his auction business at no charge, in support of livestock exhibitors. “There comes a time when you have to smile and do what is right for the kids,” he said.

   To access the upcoming catalogs (due out on Monday, July 20) offering a virtual showcase, visit sheridanauctionservice.com and look for the auctions or call (989) 720-7355 for further information.

Continuing Support for Shiawassee County Fair Market Exhibitors was last modified: July 20th, 2020 by Karen Elford