Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on February 12, 2001. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Champion Youth Feel Effect of Farm Prices
JACKSON -- Mississippi's young champion livestock exhibitors received top dollars for their market animals at the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions, but the total sales seem to parallel the growing concern in the agricultural economy.
Young people in 4-H and FFA recently concluded their 2000-2001 season in Jackson with the No. 1 youth livestock sale east of the Mississippi River.
The Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions has paid more than $2.1 million to young livestock exhibitors over the 32 years since the sale was organized. This year, buyers paid $120,470 for 34 market hogs, lambs and steers, more than $40,000 less than last year's sale.
Alton McRee, a buyer representing Federal Land Bank Associations of Mississippi, purchased the champion spotted hog this year. He has been coming to the sale for 11 years and has seen prices wax and wane with the economic conditions.
"This year we missed some of our regular buyers who have typically spent more money and helped the bids go higher," McRee said. "It also may be an overall pessimism in the economy, even in the area of charitable giving."
The eight steers averaged $5.31 per pound, compared to $7 last year. The 13 hogs averaged $10.46 per pound, compared to $15.61 last year, and the 13 lambs averaged $18 per pound, compared to $23 in 2000.
Gale Chrestman, 4-H livestock specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the auction and scholarships provided at the sale help reward young people for their hard work.
"We always hope for record sales, but the biggest reward is the quality of character that livestock projects produce. The money from the sale is the icing on the cake," Chrestman said.
In addition to the sale of animals, the Dixie National Sales Committee sponsored scholarships worth $1,000 each for 19 high school seniors to attend Mississippi colleges. Four additional $1,000 awards were presented to premier exhibitors with projects in beef, dairy, swine and lamb.
Noel Daniels of Gray-Daniels Ford in Jackson has been a buyer at the sale for several years. Jackson area Ford dealers have been pooling their money to spend $20,000 to $25,000 each year supporting the young livestock exhibitors.
"I was raised on a North Louisiana farm, and I know what it takes to raise top quality animals," Daniels said. "If they are willing to work that hard, we need to be willing to reward their efforts."
Elizabeth Nowell of the Hinds County 4-H program said the generosity of the buyers will make parting with her champion steer, Licker, much easier.
"I'm probably going to cry when I leave him because he's been my baby, but the money will help," she said.
During livestock competition, the judge named Licker the reserve grand champion steer and champion lightweight European cross steer. The Jackson area Ford dealers purchased all 1,217 pounds of Licker for $8 per pound.
Nowell said some of that money will cover the cost of raising her steer, but the majority will go into her college fund.
Since Licker also was named the Mississippi bred grand champion steer, Nowell received an additional $1,000 from state officials to promote buying Mississippi cattle. Those officials included Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, Secretary of State Eric Clark, Attorney General Mike Moore, Auditor Phil Bryant, Insurance Commissioner George Dale, Treasurer Marshall Bennett, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Lester Spell.