4-H’ers’ hard work rewarded at 150th Oceana County Fair.

September 1, 2021

4-H’ers’ hard work rewarded at 150th Oceana County Fair.

Large market auction sets record, beating highest year by $20,000.

HART — For many, the fair is a favorite summer pastime. But for thousands of youth in Michigan, it’s more than that: it’s the best week of the year. 

For the Oceana County 4-H’ers who participated in the 2021 Oceana County Fair, they couldn’t agree more.  

“After a tumultuous year, it was great to see 4-H youth enjoying the fair again this summer,” said Jake DeDecker, state leader for Michigan 4-H. “As a long-time partner with fairs across the state, Michigan 4-H professionals were as excited as youth to be back enjoying it, too.” 

Though most Michigan fairs are independently operated by agricultural societies, fair boards or fair managers, Michigan 4-H has long supported youth programming at fairs throughout Michigan. As the youth development program of Michigan State University Extension, Michigan 4-H partners with local fairs like the Oceana County Fair to deliver 4-H classes and other youth experiences.  

“Our fair partnerships across the state are some of our longest-standing, with some more than 100 years strong,” continued DeDecker. “For many people, 4-H and fairs go hand-in-hand and we’re happy to be a part of such a beloved tradition in communities throughout Michigan.” 

Though fair participation is not a requirement of 4-H involvement and not every 4-H’er attends the fair, local fairs play a large role in the lives of many Michigan 4-H youth. For them, the fair is the culmination of a year’s work on their 4-H project as they learned to raise and train an animal, create a still-life project, become an entrepreneur, grow a plant, and advance their knowledge and skills in so many ways.  

“Fairs are one of the ways 4-H’ers can showcase their mastery of skills learned through 4-H,” explained DeDecker. “It’s the icing on the life-skills cake, so to speak. And it’s a lot of fun!” 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of many local fair events. MSU Extension helped to provide an online forum for 4-H youth to receive constructive feedback and be recognized for their accomplishments through 4-H virtual showcases and auctions. While rewarding, the online experience was not the same as the in-person fair and many eagerly awaited the 2021 fair season. 

“You could feel it in the air,” said Sarah Schaner, Oceana County 4-H Program Coordinator. “As soon as Michigan State University lifted and modified our COVID restrictions, our program was full force ahead. There was a difference, maybe it was hope? The excitement and hope that things could become a new normal. Seeing everyone laughing, running around the grounds and just overall happy to be around each other again. It made the long road to the fair absolutely worth it.” 

Oceana County 4-H’ers took part in a variety of classes at the Oceana County Fair, which was last week Aug. 24-28. Projects ranged from horses to cattle, and poultry to art exhibits. In total, more than 250 4-H projects were displayed.  

As they do every year, Oceana County 4-H’ers wrapped up fair week with the Oceana County 4-H Small Market and Large Market auctions. The community showed up with record support this year, rewarding Oceana County youth who sold their livestock and still exhibit projects with high prices in exchange for a year’s hard work on their projects. 

“For our Large Market alone, we set an all time record high of money raised,” Schaner said. “Even with a lower than usual number of animals for sale, we were down about 20 percent, we raised $243,516.65 — beating our highest year in 2016 by $20,000.”

Junior Market: Total raised – $5,208.42 

Small Market: Total raised – $19,773.35 

Large Market: Total raised – $243,516.65 

Overall Total: $268,498.42 

Junior Market Averages 

Chickens – Low, $27.50 lb. High, $35 lb. Average $31.25 lb. 

Feeder Calves – Low, $2.75 lb. High, $4 lb. Average $3.37 lb. 

Goats – High, $5.50 lb. 

Rabbits – Low, $5 lb. High, $6 lb.  

Ducks – High, $18 lb. 

Geese – High, $7.50 lb. 

Small Market Averages 

Chickens – Low, $8.25 lb. High, $21 lb. Average, $14.15  lb. 

Feeder Calves – Low, $2.50 lb. High, $5 lb. Average, $3.65 lb. 

Goats – High, $5.50 lb. 

Turkeys – High, $20 lb. 

Geese – High, $7 lb.  

Large Market Averages 

Beef – High, $4.10 lb. Low, $2.45 lb. Average, $3.11 lb. 

Steer Gross – $152,233.50. Their highest gross ever. 

Swine – High, $8 lb. Low, $4 lb. Average, $5.46 lb. 

Swine Gross – $67,809.40. Their third highest gross

Lamb – High, $15.25 lb. Low, $10.50 lb. Average, $13.03 lb. 

Lamb Gross – $23,473.75. Their third highest gross. 

 But for the 4-H’ers, the fair is not all about the money they earn at the sale or the prizes won. It’s about lessons learned, memories made and lifelong friendships developed. 

Oceana County MSU Extension is grateful to its fair partners for all their hard work in making the 2021 fair happen and for the long-standing partnership. 

“After the last 18 months, it’s been so great to see youth showcasing their projects and reaping the rewards of a year’s hard work with their friends, family and club leaders cheering them on,” said DeDecker. “We appreciate the continued support and collaboration of our fair partners who help to make these amazing experiences possible for 4-H youth.”   

To learn more about joining Oceana County 4-H as a youth member or volunteer, visit 4h.msue.msu.edu or contact Sarah Schaner, Oceana County 4-H Program Coordinator at 231-873-2129 or at [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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