A year removed from being online-only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a more traditional Junior Livestock auction returned to the grounds of T.K. Marshall Arena Saturday, culminating about a four-month process for local chapters of the Future Farmers of America.
Colusa County Fairgrounds Chief Executive Officer Laura Ford said on Saturday approximately $1.5 million was raised from buyers purchasing animals raised by FFA members in Colusa County.
Ford said once a buyer purchases an animal, the meat can then be processed, or the money or animal can be donated to local programs. Each FFA member, Ford said, receives a percentage of the proceeds for scholarships, next year’s program or to pay back any fees used during the raising process.
The animal raising process can be both expensive and time-consuming, as Williams High School FFA member Braaulio Rivera pointed out.
Rivera said he fed his pig every day and trained “Waddles” throughout the process.
Training can be a trial by error process until the animal learns to trust his owner, Rivera said.
“I would go everyday and train them for 30 minutes,” he said. “When (the pig) is a baby I don’t want to be abusive (so) at first I want to give them a little hard (slap) so he can understand he needs to go the other way.”
Rivera said walking the pig helps the animal gain muscle, which can be beneficial during the auction.
Showing the pig at auction is like a beauty contest, he said.
“The best way is to show the judge you were working with him a lot (and) smile at the (judge),” he said. “You want them to know that your pig listens to you and that you fed him well.”
Rivera said “Waddles” sold for $8 a pound, which equates to $2,080 for his 267-pound pig.
The next step is saying goodbye, which Rivera said can bring tears.
Raising a lamb
Kamila Ocamponedina’s first year as a participating member of the Junior Livestock auction was predicated on discipline with her lamb “Bambi Jr.”
Ocamponedina said attention to detail is crucial during the raising process. Otherwise the lamb can be feisty, she said, especially when in the ring during auction.
It’s key, she said, to not get the lamb to move when you’re showing it to a potential buyer.
Ocamponedina said “Bambi Jr.,” who is less than a year old, sold for $25 a pound.
In addition to gaining experience with the auction process, Ocamponedina said she enjoys the camaraderie she gains with her classmates and fellow FFA members.