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The Observer paper 12/26/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow MY VOICE arrow Support youth, save money

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Support youth, save money

Spend money to save money? I know it sounds like an oxymoron.

Many of you will realize I am recycling my article from last year, but the fact is that many families are still eating at home more to save money.

Here is a way to buy your meat, eat at home and support the local 4-H and FFA youth: You can do all of these things by coming out to the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Junior Market Auction in Union Saturday at 8 a.m. and buying an animal.

Some people are intimidated by auctions because they move fast and are sometimes confusing. Here are five guidelines that will make it easy.

1. Know what kind of meat you would like to put in your freezer. This year we have swine, beef, lamb and goat. The hogs will start the sale and be done between 11 a.m and noon. We then go to the beef, which takes about an hour and a half. After the beef, lambs will sell, which usually goes to about 3 or 4 p.m. This year we have a new species, goat, which will finish the sale.

2. Know how much to spend per pound at the sale. This is not the total cost if you are going to put the meat in your freezer. You still have to pay the cut and wrap fee at the local butcher. The range and average prices at the sale are as follows:

a. Swine — $2 to $4/lb. Av. $2.40/lb.

b. Beef — $1.15 to $2.50/lb. Av. $1.75/lb.

c. Lamb — $2 to $6/lb. Av. $3.25/lb.

d. Goat — $2 to $3/lb. Av. $2.60/lb.

3. Know where you are going to send the animal. You do not have to take possession of the live animal. We haul it to the butcher for you. There are two Union County providers: Stafford’s and Union Market. Once you buy the animal at the auction you just have to direct the auctioneer where to send it. We take care of the rest.

Sometime during the week after the sale you will get a call from the butcher to find out how you would like it cut and wrapped. When they are done processing they will call you to come and pick up your order. Please be aware that Union Market has limited space so it would be a good idea to see if they have room before hand.

4. If you have questions, would like someone experienced to sit next to or can’t be there to buy the animal and would like someone to proxy bid, we have people who can help. Give me a call or find me before the auction and I will answer your questions, have one of my committee members sit with you during the auction, or buy an animal for you with your specific directions.

5. HAVE FUN! We have a lot of fun at the auction. This is a community event where your friends, neighbors, co-workers, bosses and family come to support the youth of our community. We will have a breakfast before the auction and as always the famous Stock Show Burgers will be available at lunch time.

Here is an interesting side fact: The OSU Beef Production Class did a survey of Union County grocers and found that the cost of buying a whole beef would average between $4.18 and $4.87 per pound depending on retailer. This means you could spend up to about $1.50 per pound at the auction, and even after cut and wrap prices, you will still fall within the local grocery store cost. This amount of money allows those individuals who raise steers to make a little bit of profit.

The price per pound for hogs and lambs are slightly higher than you would pay at the store, but you are still supporting our local youth. The total cost of buying and processing a hog, steer or lamb can be intimidating or maybe more than one family can eat in a year. Think about splitting it up in half or quarters with family or friends.

Finally, if you are a business or individual who does not want any meat but just wants to support the local youth, you can bid on the animal and immediately sell the animal back to our floor buyer. You are only out the difference between the bid price and the floor price. If you are a business this may be a tax-deductible donation/advertisement. (Please contact your CPA for advice.) We also take flat dollar donations that are pooled together to support low prices.


John Leithner is co-chairman of the EOLS Junior Market Auction. He can be reached at 541-786-1750.

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