SPOKANE — Raising animals for market provides the region’s youths with valuable experiences, says the leader of the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane.
The experiences include “life lessons, from taking care of the animals to marketing and selling their animals,” show manager Lynn Cotter said.
The show opened May 5 and runs through May 9.
The goal for the youths is to make money, Cotter said.
What price was fifth-grader Reagan Sevigney hoping to get for her steer, Gus?
“A good one,” Sevigney said. The money will go to her college fund, she said. After college, she plans to grow up to ranch and ride horses, she said.
Isaac Ballew, a sixth-grader from Kootenai 4-H, plans to sell his animal at the Kootenai County Fair later in the season. He’s hoping to fetch roughly $2 to $2.20 per pound.
Ballew said the best part about raising an animal is the experience in learning to train them. And the hardest part?
“You kinda get attached to them and then you have to sell them,” he said.
Marin Friis, an 11th-grader at Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, started breeding lambs about five years ago, which sparked an interest in more livestock. It’s her third year selling steers, and she is showing a pig as well.
“The hard part is making money and breaking even,” she said, noting she hopes to get roughly $4.25 per pound to help pay off a loan she got to raise two steers. She hoped to pay off the loan with one steer, and make money selling the second.
Friis plans to attend Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyo., to pursue an agribusiness degree. Then she’ll learn to be an FFA advisor or extension agent at college in California, while keeping her own cattle ranch.
Pomeroy, Wash., high school senior Cheyenne Miller and her brother, fourth-grader Lane Schawley, said they hope to sell market steers at their local fair. Miller has raised animals since she started 4-H in the fourth grade. She plans to go into forestry and range management.
The best part of the experience depends on how it turns out, she said.
“You’re responsible for everything you do, so if it turns out fantastic, and all the compliments you get, I get to say ‘My parents didn’t help me, I got to do it myself,’” she said. “They help you when you’re younger. As I get older, it’s all on me.”
The hardest part is making sure the animals are the weight she wants, Miller said.
“You learn a lot of responsibility and patience,” she said. “You’re responsible for them every day. And you learn something new every steer you have.”