Local Farmer Provides Unique Prizes for 4-H Livestock Competition at Ingham County Fair

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 2:06 PM EDT
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MASON, Mich. (WILX) - The 2022 Ingham County Fair opens Monday, August 1 and runs through Saturday August 6 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason, MI.

Starting Monday morning, hundreds of local 4-Hers will be competing their beef and dairy cattle, pigs and sheep in market and showmanship classes showcasing up to a year of hard work of feeding, grooming, conditioning and shoveling manure for a chance to be grand champion for their species.

For the second year, Mason native and lifelong farmer Steve Lott is contributing custom-made silver belt buckles for grand market champion for beef steer, dairy cow, dairy feeder steer, hog and sheep. “I wanted to put a prize out there for the kids to work towards. People not connected to the livestock industry don’t understand what all goes into raising an animal for fair. It’s a lot of hard work and teaches these kids so many life skills. As a farmer and a grandpa whose grandkids raise animals, I wanted to give something a little extra” says Lott. “Last year’s champions really liked the buckles and were very appreciative. It’s an incentive to bring one’s “A Game” to the show arena. I’m also hoping o get the word out so more buyers will come out to the auctions.”

The auctions Lott is referring to are the Ingham County Junior Livestock Auctions. The large animal sale (beef, dairy, hogs, and sheep) starts at noon on Thursday August 4 and the small animal sale (poultry, rabbits and goats). “For people wanting local grown meat, this is a great place to purchase. The animals have had great care and good nutrition, and for large animals, buyers can make arrangements for the animals to be processed and then they can just pick the meat up, cut to their individual preferences in a couple weeks.” says Lott.

Lott isn’t the only local business supporting these efforts. Sheridan Auction Company will be running the auctions on Thursday and Saturday. The Sheridan’s are big supporters of Michigan’s youth in agriculture and work hard to get the best prices for the kid’s animals. Merindorf Meats, Meijer, Graff Chevrolet, Shaheen Chevrolet, Little Creek Farms, and Greenestone Farm Credit are long-time supporters of youth livestock sale and are out there working to increase the awareness of the auction and welcome new buyers.

The auctions are open to general public, although one does need admission to the fair ($6 adult) and parking is free. Buyers are encouraged to get to the fairgrounds about an hour before the event and check in at the auction trailer on the south side of the main arena and register for a buyer number. The office also has detailed information on participating in the auction and options for purchasing the animals. Another popular option is to donate purchases to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

In addition to showing their animals for market classes, 4-Hers also compete in showmanship classes where they are judged on animal turnout and their ability to control and show off their animal. The top showperson for in each species will compete in the Little International Showmanship Competition on Friday August 5 at 6:30 at the North End of the fairgrounds where the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Champion showpersons will receive a $300 scholarship from the Foster Swift Law firm. For more information on the fair visit: https://fair.ingham.org/

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