MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Usually, as part of the Monongalia County Fair, there is a 4-H & FFA Youth Livestock Auction, however, since the fair was canceled due to COVID-19 things will look a little different this year.
The Monongalia County Fair Youth Livestock Virtual Auction instead took place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, so that exhibitors can still have a chance to show and sell their livestock. This year, there are 51 lots, mostly containing single animals except in the cases of market chickens and rabbits which are sold in threes. This is according to Jennifer Turner, a livestock committee member, who said the normal auctioneers provided by Joe R. Pyle Realty and Auction Services will still be around this year, so the auction remains intact.
“The auction actually opened up on July 29 for pre-bidding,” Turner said. “This evening, the buyers will be able to start bidding with a live virtual auction starting at 6 p.m., where a Joe R. Pyles Auctioneer representative will actually be starting at the prebid number. And they will continue to bid up until there are no more bids and then animals will be sold. They still have the option of sending an animal to a processor or donating it to a scholarship fund, barn fund, or the youth fund.”
Turner encourages bidders and the public to support the students exhibiting animals this year. She said they are members 4-H and FFA and have put in hundreds of hours into raising their livestock. If someone were to donate to the scholarship fund, Turner said, they should know that all students have to keep a minimum GPA and they also have to do at least 24 hours of community and service to receive a scholarship.
“We are hoping that the students get the same profits that they usually do,” Turner said. “This project is more about learning than earning money, it’s more about learning and taking care of an animal and something beyond themselves. These students, they actually put hundreds of hours in these projects, many of them have started since January, raising their livestock, grooming, training leading up to the fair. So with it being canceled this year is a huge disappointment, so we are hoping we still get the same kind of reaction from the public but it’s all to be determined.”
Public excitement seems to be high, but only time will tell, Turner said. The auction has been reaching out to the community as best as possible and has even managed to find new business sponsors to replace the ones that were lost due to COVID-19.
One group that the auction has really seemed to draw in, Tuner said, is politicians.
“With it being an election year, several politicians have expressed interest, so that they can show the community that they are still involved,” Turner said. “They are having a difficult time with campaigning, so we are actually reaching a lot of the politicians, we’re getting a huge interest from the politician group.”
Anyone can participate in the auction, whether they are a business, individual, group of friends, etc., Turner said. If anyone needs help to register for the auction or purchase an animal they can call Maxwell Rob at 304-629-1159. A link to the auction site can be found here.