Community members recently hosted the Border Hop Invitational for Malheur County 4H and FFA members to showcase their animals in person while also participating in the online livestock auction. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO – More than 100 Malheur County youth sold their FFA and 4H animals through an unusual online auction, making up for the cancellation of this year’s Malheur County Fair.

Final figures aren’t available yet but JBS Auctions’ website showed 144 animals sold in the two-week virtual auction, ranging from $300 goats to $1,000 pigs to the top online bid of $2,250 for Jordan Valley FFA’s Kort Skinner’s steer.

Helen Thomas, Malheur County Fair Board member who helped organize the sale, said auction showed good, active bidding. 

There were only around half of the animals available for bidding compared to auctions conduct at the fairgrounds in previous years.

JBS Auctions and the Nicholas Accounting Group have been in charge of handling the logistical aspects to allow for FFA and 4H kids in Malheur County to have an opportunity to sell their livestock. 

Thomas said JBS Auctions did a great job promoting the auction online. 

Owner JB Salutregui said that there were a surprising number of bidders from out of state. Salutregui said that these new bidders came after following JBS Auctions’ other farm equipment sales. 

These ranchers and farmers hailed from nine states, from Nebraska to Colorado just to “support the kids,” he said. 

Salutregui said “JBS Auctions is just a vessel, but the community is really the driving force that made this happen.”

Thomas agreed. She said more animals were bought for home consumption than ever before. She credited the community with strong participation despite the pandemic. 

While both Thomas and Salutregui both are aiming for a return to the fair auction next year, they said that they learned a lot this year navigating through uncharted territory.

“I can’t say enough about the community,” Thomas said. “They stepped up when money is so short and other fundraisers have been canceled.”

News tip? Contact reporter Kezia Setyawan at [email protected]

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