COVID-19 brings mixed results for beef

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced mixed results for 4-H and FFA youth working with beef this year.

On the negative side, Market Beef Superintendent Kandra Ankney said beef prices are currently on a roller coaster. But, she said, there’s a positive side.

By “they,” Ankney said, she meant consumers in the local community. She said they are learning that there are ranchers and youth who will sell directly to them.

The judge looks over entries in the bum calf show. (Photo by Pat Blair)

All of the beef shows at this year’s Sheridan County Fair were held Saturday, starting with market beef and showmanship in the morning, followed by the bum calf, heifer futurity and breeding beef show in the afternoon. Ankney said market beef numbers this year were down a little from the around 50 animals shown in years past.

She said given the COVID-19 restrictions, the youth this year were ecstatic just to be having the fair. She said probably the biggest disappointment was that they don’t get to stay on the fairgrounds and participate in all the activities that are normally part of fair week. Shows this year have been done jackpot-style, with animals brought onto the grounds on the day of the show and taken home immediately after the show is done.

Competitors wait their turn for the first heifer futurity class. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Ankney said she had nine Cloverbud participants in this year’s bum calf show. Cloverbuds are the children between 5 and 8 years old, not quite old enough yet to join 4-H. Ankney said there also were five 4-H and FFA participants in the bum calf show. She said that’s comparable to previous years.

She said the heifer futurity, which is a two-year program, also was holding steady with past years.

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