Students gather on Weiser River Road to get steers tagged, weighed

Weiser 4-H and FFA members gathered at the former Kerner feedlot located off Weiser River Road on Saturday, March 4 to have their steers tagged and weighed in preparation for the 2023 Washington County Fair market beef project. Joe Mills, atop horse, is a former Weiser FFA member who showed up last weekend to help herd steers into holding pens. At left, Washington County Fair Beef Superintendent Mark Moura helps at the scale gate. Over 80 steers were tagged and weighed this year, far surpassing counts from the previous two years, which brought in between 60 and 70 steers. Photo by Nancy Grindstaff

Cambridge FFA member McKenzie Sprague’s brother, left, from the Upper Country, and Greg and Dustin Clark wait as the steers are being weighed in preparation for the Washington County Fair’s Beef Market Projects. The fair begins July 31 and ends Aug. 5. Photo by Nancy Grindstaff
Last Saturday marked the beginning of the 2023 Washington County Fair, being held July 31 through Aug. 5, for those participating in the 4-H and FFA market beef projects.
 Every year, just ahead of spring, aspiring cattle men and women travel to the site of the former Kerner feedlot in Weiser to have their steers tagged and weighed ahead of the fair.
 Trailers lined Weiser River Road, 4-H and FFA members waiting their turn as fair and Weiser 4-H representatives tagged and weighed 82 total steers. That’s a significant increase from the previous couple years, which saw between 60 and 70 steers tagged and weighed.
 “Our 4-H members are required to own their animals for 150 days,” explained University of Idaho Extension Educator Tyler O’Donnell who was on hand at the March 4 event. “As part of that, they have to bring them in and we tag them for our county fair in order to show they are tagged in, and we do an initial weigh-in on them.
 “Once they get that initial weight, it gives them an idea of how much feed and things like that they need to provide those animals in order for them to gain for a quality product by the time our county fair is here.”
 O’Donnell said most market steers weigh 1,350 to 1,400 pounds.
 “We do have an average daily gain contest, so whoever is able to get their steer to gain the most weight from now until the county fair will win that,” O’Donnell said.
 For the next five months, the steers, now sporting bright, yellow tags, will be fed premium feed rations and trained to lead with a halter, while handlers learn to wash, groom, trim and set up for exhibition and handling with a show stick.
 The market beef project is labor intensive and requires dedication and patience in order to be ready.
 Steers are required to weigh a minimum of 1,050 pounds to be eligible for the livestock sale, which follows judging.


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