As a support of 4-H, I think the program is one of the best for youth in that it allows youth to learn by doing, I was interested to read about a 4-H steer in Alberta fetching $60/pound at a recent sale.
The sale is likely a Canadian record and is interesting because of that fact, not that it is likely to signal a trend toward ever higher prices for 4-H steers.
In this case a couple of companies involved in the oil sector went head-to-head in the bidding. It would appear a case of good old bravado between companies, mixed with enough marketing savvy to realize over-paying for a steer would set the media wheels in motion. That I am writing about it in a column based in a newspaper hundreds of miles away is testament to the publicity angle of the purchase working nicely for all involved.
But what I was really interested in regarding the Alberta sale was not the high-priced calf, which I suspect is an anomaly in terms of 4-H sales, but rather that further into the same story, was mention of a calf raised by the club, and sold as a fundraiser.
Every 4-H club needs dollars to operate, so one is likely to assume the club-raised steer was to help the club fund its activities.
But 4-H is about helping others too, and that was the case here.
Members of the Elk Point 4-H club raised the calf and sold it at the auction with the proceeds benefitting STARS air ambulance.
The idea of a group of youth working co-operatively to raise and fit a steer in order to raise money for STARS is a rather heart-warming thing.
There is no doubt rural areas benefit most for STARS in the sense people clustered in our larger centres have closer access to larger medical centres and the associated medical specialists they might require.
STARS is designed to help those in more remote locales get to the medical attention they need in emergency situations as quickly as possible.
It is a service rural areas need, and 4-H beef clubs are rural-based. That the youth of the Elk Point Club realized the importance of the air service and came up with a great, group-based way to help out is simply a cool thing to rule about.
To me it shows some of the best aspects of 4-H, working together to a common goal, community involvement, helping others.
And it helps STARS, which is of course a positive of its own.
It is an idea which may have been done by other clubs in the past, and may well be again in the future, but hats off to the youth at Elk Point.
The only downside to the story is that the bidding war to $60/pound would have served all better had it been on the STARS calf, and not just that of a single member.
Calvin Daniels is Assistant Editor with Yorkton This Week.