Oceana 4-H animal auctions go virtual in 2020.

June 24, 2020

– OCP file photo

Oceana 4-H animal auctions go virtual in 2020.

HART — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oceana County 4-H Market Livestock Committee and the 4-H Small Market Animal Association have elected to hold this year’s auctions virtually for the Oceana County Fair.

“Both committees have had several discussions with the Oceana County Agricultural Society on plans for the virtual show and auctions,” states an MSU Extension press release. “Following these decisions, the Oceana County Agricultural Society agreed that supporting the virtual show and auction would be best considering the events in today’s world.

– OCP file photo

“For the health and safety of youth and their families involved in MSU Extension 4-H Youth Programs in-person meeting/event restrictions are in place until Sept. 1, 2020. This in-person restriction has prevented the holding of various meetings, 4-H events, and club meetings. A team of educators has been working with the company, FairEntry, to build a platform that will allow local 4-H programs to offer showing and auction activities online. With additional training and working through many of the final details, both committees are hopeful the virtual auctions are as successful as our traditional auctions. This is a one-year situation and hope that we will be back to a normal fair and auction experience in 2021.

“Buyers will have the opportunity to register as a bidder online or through the MSU Extension to participate in the online auctions. 4-H members are not permitted to make face-to-face visits with potential buyers. Both the Large and Small Market Committees are looking at better ways that 4-H’ers can connect with buyers. Buyers whose names are submitted or request to be included in the online system, will receive specific instructions prior to the auction.

“In viewing the auction online, buyers will be able to see several pictures for each animal being auctioned and read a short narrative about the 4-H’er and their animal. The auctions can be organized to run for a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 72 hours, but the committees involved have yet to decide the exact number of duration hours.

“Bidding will be done by the head per animal as opposed to the weight as in traditional auctions. The State of Michigan requires that animals sold by weight be weighed on a certified scale, and since we are unable to hold any in-person events at this time, the animals will be sold by the head.

– OCP file photo

“To keep things simple and to avoid any confusion within the online auction system, Sanders Meats in Custer will be the slaughter/processing option for all swine, lambs, and goats. West Michigan Beef in Allendale and Makkedah Processing in Hart will handle all the beef animals. Buyers will have the additional option to send an animal to Ravenna Livestock for resale or make arrangements with the 4-H’er to pick up the animal personally, should the buyer decide to do something different with the animal on their own.

“Poultry and rabbit processing options are still being secured. All details and step-by-step instructions will be provided to registered buyers in August.

“Oceana County 4-H Market Livestock and 4-H Small Market Animal Association has been extremely fortunate to have wonderful support from individuals and the business community over the years. There have been record-breaking years numerous times with the buyers rewarding the kids for their outstanding efforts.

“Although this new auction system is different, the Oceana 4-H Program is committed to making it the best that it can be for the kids and the easiest as possible for the buyers.”

The 149th Annual Oceana County Fair is set for Aug. 24-29. The Oceana County Agricultural Society announced that there will not be a midway with carnival rides and games this year. It was also announced that “events will be held with no spectators on on site.”

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The Oceana County Fair is the second longest-running fair in Michigan.

Questions about the auction may be directed to Sarah Schaner, 4-H Program Coordinator at 231-873-2129 or via email at schaner4@msu.edu.

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