Tuesday, 24 May 2011

4-H Looks Good On You!

In my last article I talked mainly on the importance of marketing and as an example I used the Eckville Show and Sale Catalog. I realized today however that I didn't do a very good job on explaining 4-H Show and Sales and what they are really or why we are marketing ourselves for them. When a 4-H member is involved in the market steer project what happens is we essentially raise a beef animal to go to market. We feed them so they finish on time and throughout the year learn proper techniques on how to care for them, sort of like animal husbandry stuff. We learn about implant usage, what different feeds do for the animal, health care practices and general management/ monitoring of our projects. At Show and Sale we compete in skill competitions, such as grooming and showmanship (our ability to "show off" the animal), and our animals also compete against each other in conformation classes. We work all year long towards this day to accomplish our goals and hopefully make a profit. We market ourselves for a better chance at premium prices and to help people understand the effort put into these projects. The sales catalog however is not the only way marketing is used throughout the sale. Before the sale we market by putting ads on the radio and the newspaper. These state that our leaders are always available to talk to potential buyers and anyone interested in just what we are doing. As a member I also go and personally talk to my previous buyers and new businesses in the area to invite them to the sale and to explain to them the importance of 4-H. we have Show and Sale committees set up to make the sale as "user friendly" as possible for anyone wanting to support the 4-H members. For example at our show and sale we have many options for buyers, if you don't want to have all that meat but want to support 4-H we have a buy back price. It is just a set market price that the calf you purchased will be "bought back" at and that way you don't have to worry about the hassle of finding a home for all the meat. At our Show and Sale you don't even have to own a trailer in order to buy an animal. We have transportation options after the sale for all buyers at their disposal and for no extra cost. Another cool option we have at ours is we make it extremely easy for friends/ neighbours/ companies to split a calf. Meaning that simply you get a partner in crime and go to the sale, pick a calf and each of you pay for half of it. That way you don't have to spend as much money if you're a smaller business and it is easier to work with the meat afterwards. I'm not sure what other clubs and their show and sales do for their buyers but these are just examples of what we do. Marketing is also used after the sale. The 4-H clubs always have a pull out section in our local newspaper with pictures of all the kids with their calves and a list of who the buyers were. Additionally most kids put a personal thank-you to their buyers in the paper as well. When you purchase a calf at the show you get handed a handwritten thank-you card with a picture of the member and their calf in it. I also like to get a picture with my buyer and my calf and talk to them a bit about 4-H and my project. Buyers aren't our only focus though. We also try to welcome the general public. After the show, before the sale the stalls are open to anyone who would like to go take a look. At this time we try to hang around our projects as much as possible to talk to anyone with questions. The atmosphere on show day is great for anyone just looking for a way to spend some quality time with friends! Our announcers always try to incorporate the crowd and keep them interested and our judges are always super informative on why they are choosing what calves. I know that when my brother/ dad and I go check out other shows we like to place the calves ourselves in the stands and have farmers bets! Good clean family fun! It's a great way to expose younger kids to 4-H and really shows teamwork within our clubs! I strongly encourage you just to go check out a show and sale just to see what it is like! I promise it will be a unforgettable experience!


  1. This is a great article on 4-H Jenalee! Awesome job :)Definitely helps explain marketing and the inner workings of 4-H show and sales

  2. Thank- You! What kind of things does your club do for marketing and to promote your sale?

  3. We have a brochure that members put in with their buyer letters, basically explaining 4-H, what we do, why they should support and stuff. It breaks down the costs so they can see what their actual donation is. We also run a few ads in the paper, but we find the letters to be the most effective