This year marks the 31st year an animal has been donated to the 4-H endowment trust fund and auctioned at the Kittitas County Fair.

Endowment animals have traditionally been pigs and cows, but this year a lamb named Weyland hit the spotlight.

Kylie Smith, a 2019 high school graduate and longtime 4-Her circled a pen in Bloom Pavilion with freshly shaved Weyland. An auctioneer threw out bids into the air as the lambs worth increased each time it circled the pen. 

The lamb was sold to Joseph Parker of Parker Orthodontics for $30 a pound resulting in $9,500. This was $3,500 increase from last year's endowment animal, Rusty, a cross-bred pig.

Next, thousand-pound steers entered the pen in various blacks, whites and oranges. Each one selling between $3-4 per pound. Roughly 200 sheep, steers, goats and pigs were auctioned off raising around $400,000. The money comes from a combination of local businesses, but also individuals.

According to Dick Wedin, a governor of the Kittitas 4-H endowment trust fund, an animal is typically donated by someone from the community and is raised by a 4-H member to later be auctioned off. All the proceeds go directly into a trust fund which later accrues interest to be used to pay for things like scholarships, sending 4-H kids to conferences, and other activities.

According to Wedin it depends on how well the stock market is doing, but the average they make off of the donated animal is around four or six grand a year.

“Right now we currently have a list that’s one year out,” Wedin said.

According to Wedin there has been a strong interest in the community as to who gets to raise the next endowment animal. Wedin said although typically a larger animal like a steer or a hog is more common, no matter the weight of the animal it's the symbol it represents that matters most.

Wedin explained often the endowment animal and feed is donated to the 4-H member who will raise the animal, which is later bought back by the community.

Wedin likes how the auction not only helps to raise money to allow more resources for 4-H members but it also provides an opportunity for the children to practice life skills like sportsmanship in the ring.

“It helps them with responsibility, accountability, financial record keeping, and it also informs children where their food sources come from and the importance of taking care of animals,” Wedin said.

Wedin is excited to see what next year's auction will bring, especially since a goat is slated on the books, an animal they’ve never auctioned off before.

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