RED BLUFF, Calif. — FFA member Kegan Richards got a chance last weekend to show his skills at breeding and raising market-ready steers.
Richards took first in the Tehama District Fair’s annual Producers’ Market Beef contest sponsored by the Tehama County Cattlemen’s Association, which judges calves and steers purchased from producers within the county.
Richards is himself a producer, having bought two cows and bred and raised his own fair entries for the past several years. He also won the local producers’ contest two years ago.
“I think it’s awesome because it gives kids with steers from Tehama County a chance to show what they did and it shows that Tehama County can produce really good steers,” said Richards, 18, who won a $250 first prize.
Richards was one of about a dozen competitors in the contest. Among the other youngsters, Amy Stroing of Red Bluff was second and won $150, Melissa Stroing of Red Bluff took third and won $50, Hannah Pritchard of Corning placed fourth, and Charleigh Merkley was fifth.
The entrants also had a chance to win a belt buckle, as judges interviewed them and considered the overall quality of their projects and their breeding programs.
In all, 322 youngsters entered animals at the 96th annual Tehama fair in Red Bluff, up slightly from last year, livestock coordinator Carrie Perea said. The cattlemen also gave money to students whose steers finished near the bottom in prices in the auction.
The group has been sponsoring the local producer contest for about a decade as a way to keep youngsters involved in the industry, said cattle producer Matt Pritchard, an agriculture teacher and FFA leader at Red Bluff High School.
“The youth is where we have to start,” Pritchard said. “If we don’t have the youth coming up ... we’re in big trouble.”