McKenzie County

McKenzie County 4-H’ers showing livestock at the fair last year. The livestock sale was held virtually this year.

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – McKenzie County Extension staff, based in Watford City, came up with an interesting and innovative idea for 4-H kids, who reside in the midst of oil country.

“The McKenzie County Fair was cancelled, so we decided to have a 4-H virtual livestock sale,” said Devan Leo, NDSU Extension agent in McKenzie County. The staff had a meeting prior to the day and decided the auction would be handled by R/K Auction of Watford City.

Kids depend on their 4-H sale money, and work hard all summer long on raising, feeding and training their animals for the fair. After showing each year at the county fair, many market animals are sold at the 4-H animal sale that closes the 4-H week at the fair.

That did not happen this year, and the Extension staff wanted to do something for the 4-H kids. After all, 4-H’ers depend on their sale money, whether to raise another animal for the next year, pay for static 4-H projects or start saving for college.

However, the pre-sale review did not look good.

“The pre-sale reviews were poor and people had a sour taste in their mouths about it all,” Leo said. The 4-H kids did not know what to expect.

There were no weigh-ins due to the amount of work and the guidelines under COVID-19. Only one family at a time could come through and that would have to extend into weeks of work.

During the virtual 4-H livestock sale on Friday, June 19, Rex Korslien from R/K Auction Co., held the fast-moving sale online.

Korslien encouraged bidders to remember the 4-H kids. More bidders were bidding at the front end, with less than half that at the end.

It turned out to be a fun event, in spite of being online only, and the kids enjoyed it.

“The kids were happy with their projects. I think this was a great learning experience for them. They got to see how the volatility of the market can be and that they should always expect the unexpected,” Leo said.

After the sale, Leo was busy, and that was great for the kids.

“It’s been a busy day! I am trying to finish getting all of the animals accounted for and put on a truck to go to the processor,” she said.

McKenzie County had 95 lots sold by the head. There were 48 steers that averaged $4,598 per head, two market rabbits with an average of $290 per head, eight market poultry with an average of $303 per head, 20 pigs with an average of $2,385 per head, nine sheep with an average $911 per head and six goats with an average of $1,175 per head.

“Overall, this sale was a huge success for the type of year we are having. Only four steers went to resale, and the rest are going to processing,” Leo said. “While the sale was streaming, we saw 288 active participants throughout a majority of the sale. It waned towards the end, but we still saw over 100 active participants/viewers at the end.”

There was a different story after the sale.

“After the sale ended, and the averages were released, people were very pleased with the outcome,” she concluded.