Children as young as 3-years-old will present their livestock management skills at the Greene-Dreher-Sterling Fair’s 25th annual livestock auction Saturday August 30, when animals they raised will go up for bid. For sale, will be everything from steers to goats to pigs and more.
    The GDS Junior Livestock Auction was started in 1989, in an effort to promote the agricultural community and display the significant financial impact quality market animals have on the region,explained Barn Director Janette Swingle.
    As long as the 3-year-old children can handle their animals, they are welcome to show them. The goal of the event, Swingle said is to teach children the responsibilities of caring for the livestock. Plus, an additional aspect is learning about their “agricultural heritage.”
    The sale will offer 4H and youth market animals, which includes: steers, pigs, lambs and goats. Dinner will be provided for the children and families that participate and potential buyers before the start of the sale, that offers varying numbers of animals every year. Last year there were two lambs, 51 pigs and six steers. Whereas this year, there was a list of eight lambs, 45 pigs and three steers registered a few weeks before the auction.
    Swingle said the continued support from the community has been a huge benefit with businesses that buy animals, sometimes donating their purchases to the GDS scholarship fund or to a family in need. The kids as well, she said have been, “extremely generous,” as they donate the sale of their animal to help someone in the 4H family or community.
    The youth that enter the contest are required to send letters to potential buyers, inviting them to attend the auction. Those letters are then followed by thank you letters with pictures from the sale.
    The money many of the children receive is often put away for college, saving for items like vehicles and buying animals for the following year’s auction. The youth often purchase the animals in Lancaster County, but they have to be raised and veterinarian checked in Wayne County.
    Prices for the animals vary year to year, but usually Swingle said the prices are market value that would be received at an open market or auction. Either competing with the market price, or possibly doing better, this year she said the pigs at the Wayne County Fair were selling for $225 and higher. All of the pigs were sold per pound.
    As for the goats, the pricing depends on their placing. Swingle explained that grand champions or reserve grand champions bring more money than animals that don’t place. Before the auction, there is a judging where livestock judges critique the animal’s appearance, the quality of the meat, the animals’ market quality and how much a hanging carcass will bring.
    Many of the youth involved in the auction come from farming backgrounds in Wayne County, while others are involved in the 4H program.
    All of the judging occurs a week before the auction, where the grand champions and market animals are chosen by the judges. The animal’s standing, determines where they stand in the sale ring, explained Swingle. The livestock is often purchased by neighbors, friends and local businesses. Following the sale, local butchers take the animals to their place of business.
    Swingle said everyone involved in the auction and animals’ events, are very proud of the children that participate in the livestock program because they “represent some of the hardest working and responsible adolescents in our area.” She encourages anyone to get involved in their local 4H.
    The judging will be Saturday, August 30 and the auction will be August 31. For more information visit