What a year this has been so far. So many businesses have had to close. So many events are closed. Last Spring, our graduates did not have their proms and graduations. Now our new seniors are missing marching bands, games and of course classes in their schools. The new normal we are told.
But many beautiful things have happened during this pandemic— like a new appreciation for gardening, making memories, and eating dinner together. Zooming is a new thing. Virtual is becoming easier and easier.
I grew up in Beltsville, Maryland, home of the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center. My grandfather helped the research center with raising the first of the small white turkey when my mother was a little girl. We got to go play in the big barns at the research center, which is where I would get to pick out kittens over the years.
For some reason, we never joined the local 4-H club while I was growing up. I guess having a steer walking around Behnke’s was not to be. However, when I moved out to Western Howard County, I started attending the Great Howard County Fair. After I got married and had children, we ventured out to the Frederick Fair (ended up with a big old rabbit), the Carroll County Fair, and the State Fair. We even checked out the Montgomery County Fair. It was the thing to do during the summer. There was always a fair going one somewhere.
I have friends that had children that joined the different local 4-H clubs and enjoyed bidding on their livestock, which we would buy to fill up our freezers each year. It was so much fun to be part of the auctions that were held. Past and present 4-H’ers would be there with signs and banners supporting the younger kids. Parents would be there, making sure everything ran smoothly, and the local auctioneers would give of their time to run the auction. Good times and great fair food are what memories are made up of.
These kids put their hearts and souls into raising their animals. They took care of them and loved them. They learned about the process of record-keeping while feeding, washing, and exercising the animals. There is something about seeing a small child leading a huge steer into the arena to make my hand go up! We would all bid high and bid often. The money raised would support the 4-H kids for the feed and give them the means to purchase another animal for the following year. Some would donate back to their club or a charity. It was all about giving back to the community and a way of life. Life long experences were made and money saved for their education. Some would go on to attend colleges with scholarships from 4-H and many more would go on to raise their children being involded with the group.
Now we are in 2020, and the fairs are all closed. The animals are ready to be shown, so it starts a new way for these talented children to show their livestock. Virtual Online 4-H Auction. Here is a video on YouTube that shows you how to register and sign up as a bidder for the online auction.
Two of the families that I know have grandchildren that have been promoting their livestock on Facebook. Everyone is working hard to get the word out about this new way of bidding. Plus, if you just do not have the room in your freezer but want to support these hard-working boys and girls, you can choose the ‘add on’ option for the first time. Which means you can donate any monetary amount to any 4-H youth of your choice. This is an excellent option for those who are not local or, as I mentioned, lack the freezer space.
Liam and Quinn Hartner walked down to my father-in-law’s home last week to introduce themselves and explained how the auction will work. Their cousin Anslea Hartner will also be showing their livestock under their grandparent’s farm, Hartland Farm. These cousin’s parents all were 4-H’ers themselves, and when they aged out, they kept on with volunteering at the fairs. Now their children are showing. How proud they must be. These three will each be showing a lamb, goat, and pig.
Then there are the Brendel Brothers, Hayden, and Charlie, who each have a steer, pig, and lamb in this year’s sale. This family has been showing livestock since back before their grandparent’s time. What is even more exciting is they have a younger sister and brother that I am sure will be showing as soon as they are old enough. These kids all help with farm chores while taking care of their animals on their parents’ farm.
I am only highlighting 2 families here, but there are so many that have worked so very hard this year and every year. And not just in Howard County, Maryland but across the United States. When you click on the links to sign up, you will see so many different families. There is enough for everyone and auctions are so much fun!
Please consider supporting the hard-working kids of the Howard County 4-H program by either purchasing an animal for a product, donating it back for resale. Or make a monetary donation directly to the child. Buying an animal during the sale is also a great way to promote your business. It’s never too early to register.
Howard County 4-H livestock exhibitors purchased their project animals, cared for them & trained them with plans to exhibit them at the 2020 Howard County Fair & sell them in the 4-H Livestock Sale. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 virus changed all those plans.
This year the 4-H’ers will be offering their quality animals for sale through a Virtual Online Auction beginning at 8am on Thursday, August 13 & continuing through Friday, August 14 at 10pm.
As sale time gets closer, pictures of the sale animals & their owners will be posted:
Small Animals • Market Lambs & Goats • Market Hogs • Market Steers
Stay safe & healthy at home, fill your freezer with quality meat, support our Howard County 4-H’ers & have some fun with their Virtual Online 4-H Livestock Sale all at the same time!!
? ~ Stephanie Fleming; Beyond Behnke’s can you tell I love the 4-H’ers
Click on the photos below and scroll to their photo for more details of each child and their animal
What is 4‑H?
4‑H is a Community for all Kids. In 4‑H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us.
4‑H is delivered by Cooperative Extension—a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing. For more than 100 years, 4‑H has welcomed young people of all beliefs and backgrounds, giving kids a voice to express who they are and how they make their lives and communities better.
Through life-changing 4‑H programs, nearly six million kids and teens have taken on critical societal issues, such as addressing community health inequities, engaging in civil discourse and advocating for equity and inclusion for all.
For more information on how you can join a 4-H group in your area you can check out their web site. They are not just about livestock. There are many different groups under the 4-H name.
Types of 4‑H Programs
Our programs in science, healthy living and civic engagement are backed by a network of 100 public universities and a robust community of 4‑H volunteers and professionals. Through hands-on learning, kids build not only confidence, creativity and curiosity, but also life skills such as leadership and resiliency to help them thrive today and tomorrow.
4‑H programs and resources are available AT HOME or through local in-person and virtual 4‑H clubs, 4‑H camps, in-school and after-school programs. With the support of adult mentors, youth select from a menu of hands-on project ideas to complete. 4‑H programs are available for kids and teens ages 8-18. 4‑H Cloverbud programs are available for kids ages 5-7.