4-H and FFA students preparing for show, sale during Spring Fair in Puyallup

Local Plateau area youth are busy caring for their steers, lambs and hogs to get ready for the upcoming Northwest Junior Livestock Show and Sale. The event is set for April 14-17 at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup during the Spring Fair.

The Northwest Junior Livestock Show is a 65-year-old tradition for 4-H and FFA kids from the Enumclaw area. This livestock show is for students from third grade through high school. The youngsters have been raising their project animals for many months. The students spend three days competing with their prize livestock at the fair. On the final day, the market livestock are sold at a live auction.

The Northwest Junior Livestock Show began at the Auburn Stockyards, under the direction of John Ebby. The show was moved to Enumclaw in the 1970s and eventually moved to Puyallup as an attraction for the Spring Fair.

This is a big event for area 4-H and FFA students. It gives kids the chance to learn how to feed and care for their own livestock project animal. The kids lean about nutrition, animal husbandry, how to groom the animal for show and how to compete in the show ring with their own livestock. The final part is to market their 4-H or FFA project at the livestock sale. It is hands-on learning and a lot of hard work. Since the early 1990s, 4-H and FFA programs have raised more than $1.5 million through this livestock auction.

In Enumclaw, the Ganados 4-H Club and the Enumclaw High School FFA will have more than 30 students bringing their lambs, steers, and hogs to the Show.

The hard working kids are looking for buyers and supporters for their livestock.

Buyers can participate in several ways. The first is the outright purchase of an animal for the buyer’s own freezer. By purchasing a hog, lamb or steer they can have it custom cut and wrapped by a local butcher shop and enjoy some local high quality meat throughout the year. Larger animals like hogs and steers, can be cooperatively bought through the South King County buyers committee in halves and quarters. The Buyers Committee can assist in co-coordinating with a local butcher shop.

All the livestock is involved in a quality assurance program and is processed by a USDA-approved facility.

A buyer also can support local kids through donations to the South King County Buyers Committee. All proceeds go to support students who take their livestock to the show. The buyers committee works with interested buyers to make purchases on their behalf.

Anyone interested in supporting local youth or purchasing locally-raised locker beef, pork or lamb can contact Ada McBride, chairperson of the Buyers Committee, at 425-432-7169.

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