The 4-H/FFA Market Stock Sale at the Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo is where local youth who have nurtured an animal with the goal of selling it for top dollar come at the end of months of blood, sweat, and possibly some tears. Many young people utilise the money they make from selling their steer, hog, or lamb to pay for education or to buy their first car. These kids learn the importance of hard effort, which is more significant than the money they make.
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According to Mark Lalum, this is the main focus of the curriculum. Lalum is well-known throughout the Flathead Valley as the general manager of the CHS Mountain Coop and a former agriculture instructor in the FFA programme at the Kalispell School District. She also chairs the agriculture committee of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce. He has a passion for dealing with children and has been actively involved in the market stock sale for many years. Lalum observed, “Raising an animal has so much to teach. “The onus is entirely on me to take care of it and feed it every day. You must carry it out. It doesn’t matter if you want to or if you feel bad.
It must be completed. Lalum was raised in the Flathead Valley where he was born. Despite not having grown up on a farm, he took part in 4-H and in the summer of 1969 produced his first animal for market sale, a hog. I was the only youngster from the town in the programme, he said. “You’re now fortunate to have one or two farm kids in the programme,” she said. He declared, “I believe the programme is more crucial now than it was when I was in school. “Understanding the origins and production of our food. This is not a pet.
Another crucial step in learning is the production of meat with these animals. Fortunately, the Kalispell Agricultural Education Center provides space for kids who don’t live on a farm to nurture their animals. According to Lalum, the facility provides space for 150 hogs and eight to ten steers. The Flathead Valley’s robust FFA and 4-H programmes, together with the establishment of the Agricultural Center, contribute to explaining why stock sale numbers are increasing despite the shifting of agricultural land to other uses.
In Montana, we have the best 4-H and FFA programmes, according to Lalum. We have a lot of support from the county commissioners, parents, and schools. But, according to Lalum, the main reason for the increase in sales is due to the customers. Local companies and groups come back year after year to buy animals, including Les Schwab Tire Center, Flathead Electric Co-op, Western Outdoor, Super 1 Foods, Schellinger Construction Co., and many others.
A record 255 different buyers participated in the sale last year, and sales rose by 24% from the year before. Considering the 2021 sale’s overall proceeds of $797,236.50, some are wondering if this year’s sale will come close to the $1 million milestone. The astounding number of buyers who donate their purchases to local food banks is another distinctive feature of the stock sale at the Northwest Montana Fair. When the final product helps put local meat on the tables of people in need, it’s a win-win situation for both the vendor and the customer.
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Lalum said, “You don’t see this in other communities. On Saturday in the Trade Center Building, the livestock auction for the 2022 Northwest Montana Fair is scheduled. The sale will take place right after a brunch for buyers from 7 to 8 a.m.
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