The Van Wert County Junior Fair Auction began on Tuesday morning with the traditional sale of a gallon of milk. The milk sold for $4,085. This money will be split among 8 dairy 4-H members. (Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)
The Van Wert County Junior Fair Auction began on Tuesday morning with the traditional sale of a gallon of milk. The milk sold for $4,085. This money will be split among 8 dairy 4-H members. (Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)

BY LINDSAY MCCOY
Times Bulletin News Writer
lmccoy@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - The 2013 Van Wert County Junior Fair Auction did not set new records in total amount of premiums paid as it had during the 2012 auction, but despite the grand total amount falling this year, total sale premiums paid to 4-H members continued to increase as it has every consecutive year since 2010.

Total premiums paid at the 2013 sale amounted to $140,138, a number down from $146,210 in 2012. The decrease in this number is not due to the decrease in purchasing bid amounts, though, but is due to fewer livestock animals being sold at the 2013 auction. In 2012, 359 sales were made, while in 2013 this number decreased to 323, resulting in the average amount paid to 4-H individuals increasing from $420.14 in 2012 to $433.86 in 2013.

Hot weather conditions seen throughout the fair week ceased during Tuesday morning's sale at the Farm Focus Arena making auctioning conditions comfortable for sellers, animals, and bidders. Those bidding were also treated to donuts and coffee to help them get through the often lengthy auction process.

The day began with the traditional gallon of milk sale. The milk sold for $4,085. This amount was split between eight dairy 4-Hers leaving $453.89 to each exhibitor. The most entries in one livestock category once again came from the swine sale with 93 hogs going through the auction, down from the 111 hogs auctioned the previous year. Despite numbers decreasing, the average premium paid per hog increased from $410.63 to $483.55.

Steers once again brought in the highest amount paid per animal. Steer numbers dropped by two from 2012 to 26 animals average $747.69 apiece, a number that has also continued to increase from previous years.

Of the other six livestock categories sold at auction, the turkeys, goats, and poultry saw average premiums increase. 37 turkeys averaged $321.63 per unit, 13 goats averaged $456.73 per unit, and 33 poultry averaged $294.70 per unit. While these categories saw a steady increase, dairy feeder, rabbit, and sheep averages saw a hit during the 2013 auction.

The 32 dairy feeders averaged $438.28 per unit as compared to last year's average of $550.56. The 64 rabbits saw a slight premium drop as well from $268.36 in 2012 to $266.41 in 2013. The average premium paid for the 24 sheep auction dropped by nearly $42 from 2012 to $541.88.

In 2001, 456 animals were sold at the Van Wert County Junior Fair Auction. While this number has decreased by over 100 animals in 2013, the average sale price of $433.86 far exceeds the 2001 unit average of $213.71. The 2013 auction total sale premium amount of $140,138 is also much larger than the $97,450 brought in to exhibitors in 2001. The Junior Fair Auction is seeing a decline is sale amounts but has seen no major hit in the amount of funds brought to those individuals who make the livestock show at the Van Wert County Fair a success.