LEBANON, Pa. — The Lebanon Area Fair set a record when Jared Fessler’s grand champion market steer sold for $15,500 on Aug. 1.
A consortium of Bell & Evans, Fulton Bank and Esther’s Restaurant bought the Robesonia 4-H’er’s steer, the first of 361 lots sold.
Strausstown Rod & Gun Club bought three of the champion animals. The club took Colby Bomgardner’s grand champion hog for $3,500, Madison Weaver’s reserve champion steer for $5,200, and Noah Manbeck’s reserve champion hog for $1,900.
Colby and Madison have previously sold champions at the fair.
Lebanon Valley Auction Co. bought Jaydon Grumbine’s grand champion lamb for $2,000.
Dylan Fessler, a second-year 4-H’er who showed the grand champion lamb last year, sold his reserve champion lamb to First National Bank of Fredericksburg for $2,100.
Also getting in on the action was Brock Williams of Cleona, who sold two market hogs.
Brock’s pigs placed third in their weight classes. It was probably his best showing of the four years he has been in the ring, he said.
“Most of the time they listen. They’re just stubborn,” Brock said of showing pigs.
Brock, a junior at Annville-Cleona High School, lives on a beef farm but shows only swine. He has found that his 4-H swine are more work than beef.
“You have to clean them out more” because of pigs’ greater sanitation requirements, he said.
Brock’s mother and grandfather used to show pigs, and his sister does now, too. “It was just natural that I joined,” he said.
Brock and his family have started a breeding program on their farm. They buy sows at the Pennsylvania Farm Show that are almost due.
“If they’re good sows, we keep them in the barn for the next year,” Brock said.
They sell the boars after the sows are bred, he said.
In recruiting buyers, Brock said his strategy was to cast a wide net, sending letters to a lot of different buyers.
He fed the pigs Hog Grower feed from Mark Hershey Farms. He has learned to keep the feed consistent. “You don’t want to switch it up too much,” he said.
Outside of farming, Brock has also competed on Annville-Cleona’s varsity ice hockey team.
The Lebanon Area Fair held a dairy beef show for the first time this year. Those animals were sold two days before the youth livestock sale.