East Texas Ag News: Supporting the (Canceled) county fair livestock exhibitors, local business

...and getting a freezer full of quality meat

East Texas Ag News: Supporting the (Canceled) county fair livestock exhibitors, local business
The cancellation of the Angelina County Fair early last week was tough for hundreds of 4-H, FFA and other youth across our county. (Source: KLTV)

ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) -The cancellation of the Angelina County Fair early last week was tough for hundreds of 4-H, FFA and other youth across our county. Months of time and effort, along with a good amount of money has been invested in the market livestock projects, to include hogs, chicken, sheep, goats, rabbits, and steers.

This hits very close to home. My own son had four entries in the Fair. This is his last year as he is a senior in high school.

What about the market animals that were to be sold? Many are still for sale. A few took to social media early and already have them sold. The Angelina County Fair Board is working diligently to help out all livestock exhibitors with projects still on feed and needing to go to a market.

We ought to follow the example shown by our local, employee-owned grocer Brookshire Brothers. Even as the Fair was being canceled, the grocer made it clear they would still support those youth and still provide the $10,000 in scholarships that they had promised.

Oh, that we could follow the example of Brookshires Brothers!

Indeed, we can. We have an opportunity to help these youth, help a few local businesses, and get a freezer filled with the most pampered meats ever raised!

Here’s how you do it and some financial numbers to guide you.

First-time buyers need to realize that the hanging carcass weight will be about 58% of the live weight on average. For a 1,200-pound steer, that means a hanging carcass weight of about 700 pounds. For a 250-pound hog, you’d have a hanging carcass weight near 160 lbs.

Your price per pound, for the processing, is close to $1.20 per pound. Compare that to an average of $4.50 per pound if you bought a retail hindquarter of beef from any local meat market.

Of course, you’d need to own that hog, lamb, steer, or goat. So now we have to find a 4-H or FFA member that still has a livestock project for sale. Contact one of the 4-H or FFA clubs and ask where you can find an exhibitor with an animal you are interested in. You’ll have lots of options from beef, goat, pork, mutton, and more.

The price of the animal is more subjective than our local meat processor’s price. Let’s look at some average cost for different livestock species shown. A show-quality pig may cost $500 and have another $525 of feeding expense. That student spends about 12 hours per week and works with it for about 6 months.

Lamb, goat, and steer exhibitors will typically have nine months of time invested in their project. Purchase costs for a lamb or goat may average $900 and $2,250 for a steer. Add in the feed and supplies, and you’ll double that purchase investment of the course of the project.

That does sound high but look at the numbers of the largest outlay, a steer. If you purchased a steer for the student’s original purchase price of $2,250 and gave no premium, nor helped with other expenses, then one would have the 770 lbs. of two sides of beef processed for $1.20 per lb., then you’d have a total cost per pound of $4.41! Folks, that’s below current beef prices for a hind quarter at the meat market!

Obviously, premium prices, for premium livestock, raised by youth that are well above premium are in order.

All told, I believe we can provide good prices for these students, send the livestock to our good meat processors in Angelina County, fill our freezer with quality meats, and follow the lead of Brookshire Brothers with our own generosity and attention to helping others.

If you simply wish to “add on” to funds that normally are spent at the auction you can to the Angelina County Fair website to become a donor. There you’ll find a complete list of exhibitors and ways that you can support these youth.

Lastly, call my office at 936.634.6414 extension 2 and leave a message if you need help finding a 4-H or FFA student to buy from. Our staff will direct you to finding specific livestock projects from all school districts in Angelina County.

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