BALLSTON SPA — Saratoga County 4-H, a Cornell Cooperative Extension, is a multifaceted organization that helps youth across New York State with hands-on-learning in the fields of science, technology, farming, nutrition, public speaking, shooting sports and much more. 4-H’s youth outreach component aims to help 5 to 18-year-olds grow into competent, caring and contributing members of society. On the final Sunday of the Saratoga County Fair, 4-H held their very first market auction – a unique event that taught youth about animal husbandry and agricultural marketplace activity.
The idea for the market auction is simple, participating 4-H youth are given animals to raise from the winter into the summer months, and eventually, the 4-H members sell their animals at the marketplace, which in this instance, took place at the Saratoga County Fair. The proceeds of each sale go to the individual 4-H member. Many of these young people put their sale earnings toward college, in addition to using the money to offset the costs of raising their animal, and to purchase a new market animal for the next year.
When purchasing a 4-H animal from the auction, the Cornell Cooperative Extension ensures that the buyer is getting a high-quality product. 4-H youth who participate in the auction are required to meet a variety of educational requirements throughout the year including meetings on marketing, nutrition and showmanship clinics. 4-H youth also sign a contract which assures they provide consistent, high-quality care for the animal auction project and all animals they raise. Because market animals are raised by 4-H’ers who provide the utmost care, supporters of the program can rest assured knowing they are not only supporting the hard-working youth, but also the agricultural industry in a localized, humane, non-commercial manner.
The 4-H Market Auction has big plans for 2023. To learn more about them, or how to support this cause without purchasing an animal, visit: ccesaratoga.org/4-H.