By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
As she walked towards the staging area, announcer Shane Hall had nothing but praise for Rosemary.
“This heifer is udderly perfect,” Hall said to the show arena crowd. “Black and white, she’s just right.”
The price was just right for Rhea, Texas, native Jarod Allen, as he parted with his grand champion dairy heifer for $6,000 at Friday night’s Curry County Fair junior livestock auction.
Rosemary, and 116 other animals, sold for $308,000, easily surpassing 2007’s total haul of $238,000.
The event serves mostly as a gesture of goodwill for the boys and girls raising animals, as individuals and businesses pay well above the market value for animals.
“It teaches them the importance of raising an animal, and it teaches them to part with it,” said Eddie Schaap, who purchased bought Delanie Crist’s dairy heifer for $4,600, with a market price of $1,450. “It also teaches that there is a profit in animals, and hard work pays off.”
Schaap, owner of North Point Dairy, said he has bought a dairy heifer every year for about the last two decades, and he absorbs less of a loss because he puts them in his dairy herd.
More often, business owners and individuals pool together to buy an animal, normally at a high price because of Hall’s goading.
“It’s got more than that in feed,” Hall said when one pig was drawing a low price.
Buyers often lessen their costs by selling the animal to a packing plant.
Jarod Allen and his cousin, Tanner Allen, also of Rhea, have been selling animals at the auction as long as they can remember.
Tanner sold his dairy heifer — called “Princess,” he says in a self-mocking tone — for $4,500 just minutes after his cousin sold Rosemary.
With Tanner entering his senior year at Grady High School, and Jarod entering his junior year, the two have gotten beyond the point of sadness.
“When you’re young, you get attached to the animal,” Jarod said.
“You’d rather have the money than the animal,” Tanner continued.
But for all of their experience selling the animals, the two don’t have much of a routine when that check comes.
“Kiss it goodbye,” Tanner said, citing college savings and a truck payment.