All Westwood FFA market animals sell at fair
A judge can tell how much a student has worked with an animal according to Jennifer Ward, a former Westwood High FFA instructor who provided the oversight for fair preparation.
“If they work with their animal the steer won’t care what is going on around them. Their center of attention will be with the student,” said Ward.
Johnson said he had taken the steer to the show ring the night before to get him use to the setting and he had done well, setting up perfectly. The steers must “set up” or stand a certain way with their heads up and legs back when showing.
Before the competition Jennifer Worthington, another Westwood FFA member, took her Hereford for a walk to help eliminate last minute jitters.
Although this year none of the Westwood FFA animals placed very high, they all were market ready and sold at auction.
Ward said that was important because when a judge determines an animal is not market ready, which means it does not have enough muscle and fat to be sold for butchering, the student can’t participate in the fair auction. Students invest hundreds of dollars into their animals, which includes the purchase price and feed.
Although proper feeding and exercise all help to make an animal market ready, genetics play a role as well. Ward said most of the animals were just livestock, nothing fancy. For example, the judge said the hogs did not have enough muscle as he liked to see. Ward explained that it was impossible to make a marathon runner a body builder. She added that Johnson had purchased a nice steer but it was young and therefore got placed in a light weight category.
At the Lassen County Fair auction Sunday, July 22 Raul Faustino sold his hog for $3.75 a pound to Medici Logging. This Westwood company also purchased Worthington’s steer for $1.50 per pound and partnered with Henry Bietz, superintendent of Westwood School District, to purchase Ryan Turner’s steer for $1.45 per pound. Robbins House of Furniture purchased Johnson’s steer for $1.75 per pound and Lassen County Supervisor Bob Pyle bought the hog Ariel Patton raised for $3.20 a pound.
Two Westwood FFA students did not participate in market categories. Kaylea Crawford chose to raise and show rabbits and Kyle Torres did a lamb breeding project. Crawford took second place in show and two of her rabbits received blue ribbons. Torres received third place in show.
In spite of the fact that Westwood FFA is a small club located in a mountain community and has only been in existence for five years, its members have had many successes at the Lassen County Fair.
The first year Westwood FFA participated, July 2003, Daniel Lawrence was awarded FFA Champion Hog and Reserve Grand Champion Hog after taking first place in the weight class in which his hog was entered. Nolan Bussey was awarded Reserve FFA Champion Lamb after placing first in his lamb weight class and first in novice showmanship.
In 2004 for the second year in a row a member of Westwood High FFA took home the FFA champion trophy for a hog when Matt Johnson was named the over-all winner.
Johnson raised the Grand Champion market steer in 2005. His brother, Kyle, had the reserve FFA Champion market hog. In addition that year Westwood FFA competed in the best pen of five competitions selecting their five best market hogs and finished first.
This school year FFA will be supervised by a new Ag instructor hired by the Westwood School District. She is Tamsen DeForest who taught in Quincy last year.
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