Sonoma County Fair Lamb Auction Breaks Records

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Sonoma County Fair Lamb Auction Breaks Records

Article and photos by Rachel LaFranchi

Published August 1, 2016

Karina Lochner and her top selling market lambs. The lamb on the left brought $56/lb and the lamb on the right now holds the highest selling lamb record at $80/lb.

The lamb auction broke records at the Sonoma County Fair on July 24th as the top selling lamb brought $80/lb.  The Reserve Champion Black Lamb sold eighth in the sale and was exhibited by Karina Lochner. The previous record was set by Laurin Murnin of Live Oak 4-H in 2012 when her lamb was purchased for $55/lb by G&G Market.

Lochner’s second lamb, the Reserve Champion FFA Commercial Crossbred, also broke the fair’s previous record selling for $56/lb. Both lambs were purchased by Fresh Pressed Flower Cards of Sebastopol which is owned by Lochner’s mother, Jan.

“She deserved it,” said Jan Lochner, “she’s worked so hard for four years.”
Lochner began raising lambs as a freshman in FFA, joining Santa Rosa FFA with no ag background. A friend who was already involved with FFA recommended the program to her, and Lochner quickly fell in love with raising lambs and what the FFA program stood for.

Emily Nunez who recently graduated from Healdsburg High School sold the high selling rabbit pen for $1,900.

“I just put in a lot of work and it started to pay off,” said Lochner. “Getting reserve with both my lambs was amazing. FFA has been the best experience of my life, and I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without FFA.”

Recently graduated from high school, Lochner is planning to take a gap year and travel around Europe. She may look into working on a sheep farm or becoming involved in agriculture while she is abroad. She plans on using some of the money from the sale of her lambs to pay for travel expenses.

Lochner wasn’t the only exhibitor to receive a high price for her animals at this year’s auction. Emily Nunez of Healdsburg FFA sold the high selling market rabbit pen for $1,900 to JDC Farms. Nunez is a recent graduate of Healdsburg High School and will be attending Chico State in the fall to major in Agriculture Education and Animal Science.

The Supreme Champion Rabbit pen was exhibited by Morgan Sceales of Harvest 4-H; the pen sold for $1,000 to Friends of David Rabbitt. Taylor Mills of Sebatopol FFA exhibited the FFA Grand Champion rabbit meat pen which was also purchased for $1,000. The market rabbit sale averaged $339/pen for 48 lots.

Owen Clark of Green Valley 4-H exhibited the Supreme Champion market lamb; his lamb was purchased for $16/lb. The sale of 229 lambs averaged $11.30/lb.

The Supreme Champion Market Goat was exhibited by Justin Bowers of Forestville FFA, and was purchased for $14/lb. The high selling market goat was exhibited by Savannah Shell and was purchased for $30/lb. Forty-four goats were sold for an average of $12.64/lb.

The three sales brought in a total of $432,579.25 for Sonoma County 4-H and FFA students.

Also sold at Saturday’s auction were three ag mechanic’s projects. Kevin Fisiiahi of Elsie Allen FFA sold a coffee table for $900; Jake Hankins and Brandon Ruzick of Petaluma FFA sold sets of wooden chairs for $1,100 and $625, respectively.
The Sonoma County Fair’s hog and poultry auction will be held on July 29th starting at 9 a.m., and the beef auction starts at 6 p.m. on July 30th. For more information visit sonomacountyfair.com.

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