On with the show/sale

The traditional 4-H scene at the Cypress Centre in Medicine Hat will not be repeated in 2020.

On June 13, at the Medicine Hat Feeding Company and on its sales website, there will be a special, non-traditional sale.

Because of the COVID-19 corona virus, many social activities have been put on old or drastically altered including auction sales. One such tradition which has been interrupted is the traditional 4-H show and sales. There is a lot of 4-H clubs which are trying to adjust, and the southeast is no different as June 13 will be the Medicine Hat 4-H livestock sale, albeit without the show. 

Shirley Elliott, the key leader of the Cactus County 4-H District explains that all of the clubs and their leaders were in on the discussions of how the traditional show and show was going to be done. 

They all agreed something needed to be done for the clubs which included Irvine 4-H Beef, Medicine Hat 4-H Beef, Seven Persons 4-H Beef, Borderline 4-H Multi, Bindloss 4-H Multi, and Generations of Tomorrow 4-H.

For some of the older and long standing members of the clubs there were buyers who wanted to buy the members’ projects regardless and were prepared to buy. So, in some cases there have been and will be sales through private treaty and direct from farm. The North 40-Mile 4-H club went the private sales route selling seven beef and eight sheep (Penny Pahl 403-502-2139).

In southwest Alberta, clubs such as Arrowwood, Lomond, Claresholm, Champion, Shortgrass, Cardston, Pincher Creek and Mountain Springs all went selling privately.

Those who didn’t wish to go that route needed a way to sell their projects after the traditionally long year of preparation. 

After many discussions through virtual meetings about ways to adhere to the rules surrounding governmental rules regarding large gatherings and proper social distancing, it was decided there would be online auction sales done. Elliott says two members from each club are in the beef council  and started discussions near the end of March/early April. 

“We gave members the choice,” explains Elliott who says many of the older members were going to be set to have someone buy. “(In some cases such as in) Irvine has new members they don’t have buyers. We still wanted to make this year as positive as possible. Try to get it as normal as we could.

“It wasn’t a snap decision. It was was well thought out.”

 Staunch 4-H supporters were to be emailed catalogues. According to the 4-H website there are 60 animals up and seven swine. When the animal has been purchased, the buyer pays the Medicine Hat Feeding Company and the animal is then subsequently sent to the abattoir. There is about approximately a month before the buyer’s custom order is completed. 

Elliott says she’s hearing the prices so far for private sales have been good. She noted that the big meat processing plants in Brooks (JBS) and High River (Cargill) has actually helped the 4-H show and sales. People want to support local businesses and knowing how the pandemic has affected a lot of groups, there is a desire to support this virtual effort. 

 “I have been getting calls from (random people) looking for meat; I’ve had a lot more calls about 4-H;” explains Elliott. “”It goes to show how communities come together and are supportive of 4-H.”

 For the southeastern 4-Hers, they received support from the Medicine Hat Feeding Company in regards to the June 13 sale. 

 “They were on board pretty quickly,” explained Elliott who added some of their other sponsors have helped defer other costs. 

 As for the future of the 4-H show and sales, Elliott believes that for 2021, it will probably “go back to the way it was.”

 “It depends on the sale (this year), but I still think this is a one-off,” explains Elliott. “It might be a way to add to (the way we have conducted business). We’ve learned to have Zoom meetings (virtual communication) and we’ve learned to communicate more.”

For more information or anyone has any questions on the June 13 sale which kicks off at 1 p.m., contact Mona Howe 306-661-0049.

Note in southwestern Alberta there are two other virtual sales occurring: 

June 3-southwest Alberta 4-H

Lethbridge Northern 4-H Beef Club Sale - June 3-DLMS LIVE ONLINE ONLY SALE

Sale Type: Purebred.

This 4-H Sale will be conducted on DLMS as a LIVE ONLINE ONLY sale with an auctioneer and sale order. Sale time is 7 p.m.  Susy Konynenbelt 403-360-1980 

June 5-southwest Alberta 4-H

Lethbridge & District 4-H Achievement Day Beef & Lamb Sale, DLMS FarmGate Timed Auction will include: Lethbridge-Coaldale 4-H Beef, Readymade 4-H Multi, Milk River Multi 4-H, Raymond 4-H Beef, Warner 4-H Beef, Del Bonita 4- H, Turin 4-H.

UPDATE CHANGE TO A TIMED FARMGATE SALE - This 4-H Sale will be conducted on DLMS FarmGate Timed Auctions. Bidding will open June 5 at 1 pm and will close same day June 5th at 4:00 PM Racehorse Style with 5 Min Extended bidding after close. https://farmgatetimedauctions.ca/auction/8894 Contact: Chad Heggie 403-330-6048.

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