ONTARIO — For the past two weeks, local youth in FFA and 4-H who have raised market animals have been featured with their projects in an online auction that has been going around the clock. This is the inaugural year for the online Malheur County Market Livestock Auction. The concept was born out of necessity due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 shuttering this year’s Malheur County Fair, and more than 100 local youth still needing to try to recoup the cost of raising their market animals for the year.

The online auction has racked up hundreds of bids overall for participants, who are selling goats, swine, lamb and beef. The auction closes at noon Friday and in looking through the 146 available lots this morning, multiple bids have been placed on all animals.

Kort Skinner, of Jordan Valley FFA, as of this morning, has garnered the most bids for his market project. According to a description on his listing, Skinner is a seventh-generation rancher who has been showing his family’s Red Angus cattle for the past decade.

Juan Rico, of the Adrian Livestock 4-H group has garnered the second-most bids — 43 — as of this morning with his Charolais/Angus cross steer named Roper. In the accompanying photos and video, Juan is seen in his cowboy hat leading his steer. In his biography, Juan says his animal project came from his parent’s cows.

“I like working with my project because I like bonding him,” reads his project description. “It has been a fun year.”

The auction is being hosted by JBS Auctions, based out of Homedale, and on the Malheur County Market Livestock Auction there are 156 lots listed with the first 10 being detailed instructions about the bidding process, including how to calculate the actual cost of your bid, which will if you intend to keep the animal for consumption will ultimately include the market value — currently $.91 per pound — and butcher cost. Bidders who win but do not want to take possession of the animal just pay the bid price as a donation, and do not receive any meat.

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