The six dairy exhibitors wait as bids come in for the gallon of milk sale at the annual Van Wert County Junior Fair Livestock Auction Tuesday at the Farm Focus Arena at the Fairgrounds. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)
The six dairy exhibitors wait as bids come in for the gallon of milk sale at the annual Van Wert County Junior Fair Livestock Auction Tuesday at the Farm Focus Arena at the Fairgrounds. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — The 2014 Van Wert County Junior Fair Livestock Auction began with the sale of a $2,500 gallon of milk. That sale occurred when around 30 bidders joined in to buy the milk which benefits the six 4-Hers who raised dairy cattle for judging this year. Each of the six netted $436.67 for the sale.

Once the milk was gone, the bidders settled in to buy the animals and give gifts to the 4-H participants. The grand total of premiums and meat price totaled almost $240,000. The premium total itself was the second-highest since the turn of the century, $145,320. That total bested the 2013 premiums of $140,138. The record for premiums was set in the 2012 auction at $146,210.

The average take for those going through the auction this year was $471.82, a record amount, besting the 2013 average of $433.86.

Weather at Farm Focus Arena on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds remained comfortable throughout the day with only a short shower during the early afternoon to mar the proceedings.



Although the total of dollars collected increased, the number of animals sold dropped off for the second straight year. This year’s total number of units sold fell to 308, the lowest this century. There were 323 units in 2013 and 359 in 2012. Those numbers were well over 400 during the years 2001-2006. Despite the shrinking numbers of entries, premiums paid to exhibitors remains strong.

There were 77 swine sold at auction on Tuesday, followed closely by the number of rabbits (74). Next in quantity were the sale’s 36 turkeys sold and 32 poultry, 27 sheep, and 26 steers, 24 dairy feeders, and 11 goats. The swine brought in an average of $479.87, steers averaged $879.81, and sheep averaged $544.63.

Rabbits averaged a premium of $306.76, turkeys brought in an average of $366.67, poultry averaged $330.47, dairy feeder calves averaged $661.04 each, and goats paid an average premium of $540.91.