4/20/2013 7:00 AM
By Marjorie Struckle New York Correspondent
COBLESKILL, N.Y. — The members of SUNY Cobleskill's Dairy Cattle Club proudly continued a tradition this year that provides a valuable life experience for themselves and scholarships for other students.
The Dairy Fashions Sale is the longest student-run sale in the country. The 32nd annual event, held April 6, featured 91 live animal lots and eight embryos auctioned through the Cattle Exchange, Dave and Merry Rama.
Beginning in October under the direction of club President Sara Gage and club advisers John Tryon and David Thompson, the club members selected the student sale committee and began the process of planing the sale.
Sale chairman Tyler Patenaude of Derby, Vt., and selection chair Dennis Snyder of Potsdam, N.Y., both credited the dedication of the students and the support of the consignors, many of whom are SUNY Cobleskill alumni.
"We have upper class and freshman chairs,” Snyder said. “We do this to get the freshman involved so they can do a good job the following years."
This year's sale committee also included freshman sale chair Dalton Johnson and freshman selection chair Sara Pulver. Other senior and freshman chairs included: fitting, Bob Douglas and Anissa Annuzewski; barn chair, Cory Bennett and Quade Kirk; advertising, Rene Boardman and Jake Blake; sale day, Taylor Clifford and Kristyn Jerome; concession, Kelly Pingrey and Kies Orr; and catalog chair Alissa Riley and Jess Brown.
"We utilized a list of previous consignors and personal contacts,” Snyder said of the sale preparations. “This involves everyone to help pick the best pedigree and genomic animals."
During the 30th Dairy Fashion Sale, colored breeds were included with the Holstein sale. "It did well and we decided to try it again this year," Patenaude said. "There is one of each colored breed included."
"The toughest thing for me was hearing the word no and feeling rejection,” Snyder said. “I felt like a failure until I got a consignment; then people began calling me."
The quality animals came from across New England, New York and Pennsylvania.
"The week of the sale is when all the students need to pull together. We were all are on the same page, knowing what needs to be done, so everything can look the best it can," Patenaude said.
The animals arrived the week of the sale and were all housed at the hanger where the sale is located.
"The students washed, clipped and fed animals as needed. All the animals receive hay, and the milk cows are fed a total mixed ration, similar to the college herd," Patenaude said. "Now all we have left to do is to hope the people come."
"The greatest challenge for me is public speaking,” Patenaude said. “This (chairmanship) has taught me a lot. I learned about managing people, among other things."
Patenaude said he expects the experience to assist him in his undecided career choice in the dairy industry.
Snyder had not shown cattle before and said he enjoys learning to clip the animals. He expects to work as a hoof trimmer or herd manger after graduation and these experiences will assist him in that area.
In addition to giving students experience, the previous sales have raised a total of $3.4 million in gross sales, with more than $120,000 donated to scholarships.
“We have a really good group of kids who pulled together and got really great consignments,” Gage said. “We try to top the average of the previous years. The highest average was $3,200."
Although the top average was not bettered this year, the total average for the lots sold was $2,178.