Hailey Harnden of Nyssa poses with her steer. She said that the hardest part was teaching him how to walk, but as for the fun parts, her steer likes his belly rubbed a lot. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO – Residents who want to support local youth by selling their fair animals have until Friday to place a bid in an internet auction hosted by the Malheur County Fairgrounds and the junior sales committee.

JBS Auctions is coordinating the online auction that began July 15 but Helen Thomas, Malheur County Fair Board member, said she expects bids to pick up speed as the Friday deadline nears.

“The heavy bidding is yet to come,” said Thomas.

Thomas helped the online auction get off the ground in June after the Malheur County Fair canceled because of state restrictions related to Covid.

That cancelation left many 4-H and FFA youth who were ready to show their animals at the annual county gathering out in the cold.

Thomas, along with The Nicholas Accounting Group PC – who will invoice all of the add-on sales – and JBS Auctions joined forces to give youth an avenue to sell their stock.

Thomas said Monday more than 150 animals are on the online auction block.

Usually, she said, during the fair between 250 and 300 animals are up for sale.

The online auction includes steers, sheep, pigs, goats and dairy heifers.

“We will ship out pigs, sheep and goats Saturday from the fair grounds. Market steers will be shipped out from Producers (Livestock Marketing in Vale) Sunday.

Dairy heifers will remain in place and be shipped separately and taken to the homes where they are going to,” said Thomas.

Thomas said many people this year seek beef and pork for homes consumption.

“That is a good problem to have, but if they are thinking about that they need to call their processors to make sure they have room,” said Thomas.

So far, said Thomas, interest in the online auction is steady.

“I think it’s been very successful. We won’t know until the end of the week but, as time goes by, I am more encouraged. The bids are slowly creeping up,” said Thomas.

Interested individuals can go to https://www.jbsauctions.com to bid.

“I expect it to be a good sale. Thursday and Friday will be big days,” said Thomas.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at pat@malheurenterprise.com or 541-473-3377.

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