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AgFest ends with successful livestock auction at fairgrounds
pic cassidy n-LT
Cassidy Smith of the East Union FFA prepares her Holstein Cali for the dairy replacement heifers auction at the San Joaquin AgFest on Saturday. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Cassidy Smith grew up wanting to raise a cow.

So says her mother Kimber Smith during Saturday’s San Joaquin AgFest Junior Livestock Auction.

Given the opportunity, Cassidy, 18, jumped at the chance to raise a dairy replacement heifer. Never mind that she was a first-year student of the East Union Future Farmers of America.

“I got into FFA last year while hanging out with my best friend (2014 East Union graduate McKenzie Huston),” she said.

According to Kimber Smith, who is the Categorical / Health clerk at Neil Hafley Elementary School, her daughter took out an ag loan from the bank in order to purchase the Holstein she named “Cali.”

Since January, Cassidy regularly attended to her FFA livestock project, at the same time, learning the ropes of life on the farm.

“We live in the city (of Manteca),” Kimber Smith noted.

AgFest was the culmination of Cassidy Smith’s efforts of the past six months. She quickly learned the lay of the land at the San Joaquin County fairgrounds.

“I really enjoyed (AgFest),” Smith said.

Her Holstein earned third-place honors in Market and second in Showmanship.

During the auction, Smith learned on the fly of handling “Cali” in front of bidders and spectators at the Livestock Pavillion.

“Cali” was one of 25 dairy replacement heifers, making it the largest field of its kind in the past six years at the fairgrounds, according to AgFest volunteers

Those looking to bid – AgFest also had market swine for sale along with birds, turkey, beef, sheep, goat and rabbit – checked in at the registration table to confirm their information.

“Anyone can register as a buyer, even grandma or grandpa,” said Chris Schallberger of the Lodi FFA.

Payments in full were required on the day of the auction, with AgFest accepting cash, checks and major credit cards. “This way we can pay students for their projects,” Schallberger added.

Those bidding on beef, for example, had an additional charge of $88 for the abattoir fee. They also had a choice of cut-and-wrap meat packaging places – listed were Austin Meat Services (Ripon), Fagundes Brothers (Manteca), Dave’s Meat Service (Modesto) Steven Medlen House of Beef (Oakdale), Swingles Meat Co. (Jackson) and Coehlo Butchering (Farmington).

The additional cost for beef was based per pound.

Fortunately for Cassidy Smith, the sale of “Cali” was just the beginning. Morris Dairy of Modesto won out with a top bid of $2,750.

Smith was thrilled with results of the auction even though a little bit more would’ve made for even a nicer payday. “I’ll take it,” she said.

After paying off her loan and other expenses, Smith estimated a $300 profit from her livestock.

She plans to save that money while maintaining a great credit rating.

No tears were shed for Cassidy after the auction. She knows that her “Cali” is going to a dairy to produce milk.

“She has a greater appreciation about where her milk comes from,” said Kimber Smith.

The mother added: “Cassidy may not show it but I know she’s going to miss (Cali) – growing up, she always talked about raising a cow.”