4-H club members honor Socorro County Fair livestock buyers

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Not all of the 77 people who bought animals at the 2012 county fair showed up for the appreciation ceremony and dinner, but there were few empty seats at the event Monday evening at Kelly Hall.

Raising a meat animal to market weight is an important 4-H project for many youth in Socorro County, and each year at the fair, the top quality animals are chosen to be auctioned off at the livestock sale. According to the Socorro County Fair Handbook, the livestock projects are a business venture for youth, the challenge being how to make a profit while raising an animal that meets quality meat standards.

Karen Bailey-Bowman/El Defensor Chieftain: Brandon Carrillo of the Boys Ranch Mustangs 4-H club presents Don Tripp with a photograph commemorating Tripp’s purchase of a Mustangs club animal. Tripp purchased Mustangs members Felix Ulibarri’s and Jacob Salmons’s pigs, and First State Bank purchased Carrillo’s goat. This fall was the first year the Boys and Girls Ranch 4-H club participated at the Socorro County Fair.

Many buyers pay much more for the animal than its actual value, both to reward the 4-H members’ efforts and to contribute to long-term goals, such as college. Proceeds from the sale also help fund next year’s livestock project and provide a tax write-off for the buyer.

At Monday’s event, 4-H members and their families prepared a down home feast that covered several long tables. After all had eaten their fill of brisket, potato salad, desserts and all the trimmings, the real business of the evening commenced.

One by one, 4-H members went to the podium to deliver a personal thank-you to each of their buyers. Afterward, they presented their buyers with photographs taken at the fair commemorating the sale.

The projects for last year are history, but county 4-H families are already gearing up for the 2013 fair.

Mavericks 4-H club dad Pablo Romero said that his daughters are already getting ready to buy steer calves for next year’s fair. This year, his daughters Senaida and Nadya’s two steers and one lamb qualified for the sale.