MARKET LIVESTOCK SALE
For over 40 years, the Kalispell Chamber Agribusiness Committee has organized the Northwest Montana Fair’s Market Livestock Sale. The sale is the final stage of months of hard work for 4H and FFA students.
Some students start their project as early as the December before the sale selecting their project (cattle, lamb, or hog) and spend the winter, spring, and summer months raising the animal. In addition to the hands on education students also develop public speaking skills, personal growth, career success, and confidence.
“Being in 4-H has helped me be involved in a lot of group projects and community programs. I love lamb projects because the lambs are easy to handle, super loving, and fun to take care of.” – Bella Moran, 6th grade in Somers
Destiny Wallace, a graduate from the FFA program who showed lambs says, “it’s a lot of responsibility, keeping something alive. Your animal completely depends on you, but in the end when you have to say goodbye you know it wasn’t for nothing. Most Americans don’t know where their food comes from. Here, you get to be a part of that process, no matter how small of a part that is.”
Over 100 businesses and individuals come together during the Saturday of the Northwest Montana Fair to participate in the sale. Some purchase for themselves, others will purchase and share with their employees. One very unique aspect of this sale is the number of buyers who will purchase and donate the meat to a local charity.
Tom Anderson and his wife Tammy, of Glacier Precast Concrete, have been involved for many years; both as buyers and volunteers. Tom helps on weigh-in day, and Tammy is a clerk at the sale. They purchase several animals each year as a way to support students and say thank you to their employees.
“The idea that they’re getting prime, 4H or FFA meat is huge to them and the guys know our company is actively supporting the community and their kids,” Tom says. “They look forward to our contribution every year and feel like we’re buying them dinner for a few nights.”
Tom believes supporting the sale is one of the best ways for businesses to connect with their potential workforce; students.
“Young people just don’t have much interaction with local businesses anymore. Being prominent at the sale helps us build a relationship with some of the kids. When they’re looking for work after graduation they may just look to us for a job.”
Senior, Glacier High School
Ella wants to be a large and small animal vet and currently competes in the FFA career development event for veterinary science. Outside of school she can practice, compete, and learn about animal sciences and preview what the career would look like. This will be Ella’s second year showing a steer and she has been spending an average of two hours working with her steer every day since November. She wants people to know that there is a place for every student in FFA regardless of background or experience.
Sophomore, Flathead High School
Bradley spends half of his school days at Flathead High and the other half at the H.E Robinson VoAg Center where he has been raising a hog for this year’s sale. Bradley has been learning not just about raising hogs, but says his teachers have been teaching everyone at the Ag Center valuable life skills that he will take with him into his professional career. “FFA gives us a lot of really cool opportunities that prepare us for the hands-on duties we might need in life. I’m learning by doing rather than learning from a textbook.”