LAC LA BICHE - Lac La Biche 4-H Club organizers have taken the bull by the horns — at least the steer by the reins — to keep the annual beef auction in place despite COVID-19 restrictions.
With the cancellation of the annual Lac La Biche 4H Club's Achievent Day, organizers knew that people would have a beef about not being able to bid on the member-raised, home-grown market steers, so they're going virtual.
Starting on July 2 at 9 a.m., and going to July 3 at 6 p.m., the efforts of eight Lac La Biche 4-H Market Beef Project youngsters will be on the online auction block at DLMS auctions. The Farm Gate auctionhouse already has some information on the eight steers up for sale, including Bert, who's been raised by 4-H member Jase Uganecz, TUX, a steer that Faraon Brown has raised, Tony, raised by Corben Rolph and Gibson cared for by Amber Feledichuk.
Last November, the Lac La Biche 4-H Club Market Beef Project got together to do their first meeting of the year and conduct the first weigh-in for their animals.
"It was a very cold day but they did what they needed to do, all steers were weighed, given eight way shots, tagged, and measured," said 4-H leader Lisa Rolph, emphasizing that the animals have been raised and cared for naturally by the young members. "Hormones? Nope, not one steer had a Hormone shot."
In the weeks that followed, the young 4-H members committed to night and day feedings, taming, halter breaking and cleaning their steers.
4-H leader Rachel Feledichuk says the members balanced a lot of things to take care of their animals — and endured a lot.
"December - they are still feeding in minus-40 morning and night, attending school, extracurricular activities attending monthly club and project meetings, work," she said, explaining that the care continued throughout the winter leading up to the spring planning meeting at the end of February. "We had our meeting, planned workshops and some fun things to do in the spring."
But then COVID hit.
"One of the 4-H mottos is “Learn to do by doing," says leader Jason Ekeberg. "The whole world learned how to do that, and so did the Lac La Biche 4-H Club Market Beef project."
The members adapted to the pandemic changes that restricted their meetings. They used online programs to keep up to date with their progress and plans. Initially, the annual Achievement Day that wraps up with the annual beef auction was postponed from May 29 to July 2. But in recent weeks plans for any in-person events were cancelled.
But the auction will continue, virtually.
Anyone is interested in purchasing a steer, can access the DLMS Farm Gate Timed Auction website to register HERE
Each of the Lac La Biche 4H members' steers are featured on the site, but actual weights of each animal will not be available until their final weigh-in on July 1. Proceeds from the auction sales go to the 4H members.
* For further contact info and details about the Lac La Biche 4H Beef Market Project: Rachel Feledichuk (780) 404-6704 Lisa Rolph (780) 623-0966 Jason Ekeberg (780) 623-8843