Wyoming fairs see record livestock sales

Most county fairs across the state are reporting an unexpected phenomenon during the current economic downturn—an increase in total gross sales at University of Wyoming Extension 4-H livestock auctions compared to previous years.

Over half of the counties reported an increase, with the rest reporting similar or slightly lower sale numbers from previous years.

Albany, Park, Teton and Washakie counties had record sales.

In Albany County, the highest gross sale had been about $450,000, and this year that was surpassed with a record-breaking $600,000.

“I really don’t know the reason,” said Mary Louise Wood, Albany County 4-H educator. “Everybody is super appreciative. It still gives me goose bumps.”

The idea of a record-breaking sale was also a shock for Tycee Brown, Park County 4-H educator.

Brown said they tried for the first time an online auction format to help allow people who may be concerned about attending for health reasons, or even allow family and friends from far away to participate and watch.

Hogs, lambs, goats and rabbits were all reportedly up in numbers from last year, while beef was slightly down. One goat sold for $120 per pound, setting a new record from the pervious of $75 per pound.

Teton County reported an almost 20% sale increase from last year.

“My guess as to why it might be higher is because the people who have the money felt a swell of emotional support for the kids and families in the program,” said Glenn Owings, Teton County 4-H educator.

Owings also thought the fair received more attention than normal because there hasn’t been a lot going on.

Amber Armajo, 4-H educator in Washakie County, had no explanation for the increase in numbers, but said it was the best they have ever had.

Others around the state have been pleasantly surprised by the turnout at livestock auctions at fairs this year despite economic concerns.