by Jennifer Showalter
HARRISONBURG, VA — Like in years past, the 2013 Virginia Beef Expo recently drew producers, exhibitors, lenders, industry officials, salesmen, and others who make up the beef cattle industry together for an eventful weekend at the Rockingham Fairgrounds. From cattle sales, shows, contests, educational workshops, to a trade show that offered something for everyone, the 2013 Virginia Beef Expo was a great success. Above and beyond all the activities that went on, the Expo provided an opportunity for cattlemen to simply come together and visit with old friends and meet new ones.
Breeding Cattle Sales
Despite some stormy weather on Friday, there was standing room only at the sales. The quality of the cattle offered along with the upbeat cattle market made for a great turnout.
The Hereford sale consisted of 15 bulls averaging $2,400 per head and 27 female lots averaging $2,474. The top selling bull was Lot 51 consigned by Jack and Kathy Sheenan of Norvue Farm in Dabneys, VA. This bull sold to Joseph Jones of Sugar Hollow farm in White Hall, VA for $3,650. The high selling Hereford female was Lot 6 with a heifer calf at side cosigned by Bay brook Farm. Paw Paw Farm LLC bought this pair for $6,000.
This year’s Simmental sale grossed $143,000. The top selling cow/calf pair was Lot 33, an Ellingson Legacy M229 daughter with a Hoover Dam calf consigned by Powell’s Valley Simmentals. This pair sold to W&E Simmentals of Pennsylvania for $10,000. A bull consigned by the Virginia Tech Beef Center out of Welsh’s Dew It Right topped the bulls at $3,000 and went to Eggersman Brothers of Indiana. A D&D High Mark daughter from SVJ Farm topped the bred heifers. Kenneth Poole of Maryland purchased the female for $3,100. An open heifer out of Mr. NLC Upgrade raised the bar for the open heifers. She was consigned by the Virginia Tech Beef Center and was purchased by Larry Hoover of West Virginia for $5,000.
The Charolais breed was represented by a strong sale of 24 lots that also included 19 lots of semen. Live cattle lots in the Charolais sale averaged $2,416 and the semen brought $56 per offering. Spirited demand on several of the top lots found a consistent price of $3,000 or higher with cattle going to many states in the mid-Atlantic region as well as Texas. Lot 8 which was a bred heifer out of BHD Reality and brought to the Expo by Crews Farms of Virginia went to Aultman Charolais of Texas for $3,300. A bull, Lot 2, which is a son of Bluegrass 4107 went to Brian Kemp of Massachusetts for $3,000. He was consigned by Macy Meadows in Maryland. The top selling pair, a Wyo Wind cow with heifer calf, came from Desco Charolais of Pennsylvania and went to Glenmary Farms of Rapidan, VA. That pair, Lot 7, sold for $3,000. An open heifer, Lot 6, was consigned by the Virginia Tech Beef Center and is a daughter of VPI Free Lunch. She topped the open heifer sale at $2,900 and went to Lone Oak Farms in Virginia. Finally there were two units of LHD Cigar Semen consigned by SAC Cattle Co. of Maryland that sold for $800.
The Angus GIFT Sale at the 2013 Virginia Beef Expo attracted an enthusiastic crowd. Angus cattle semen and embryos grossed $100,905 with 31 lots of live cattle grossing $96,700 to average $3,120. The top selling lot was Lot 1, a pregnancy from Daltons on the Sycamore, selling for $9,000 to Hillcrest Farm of Upperville, VA and then Lot 1A a flush opportunity selling also from Daltons on the Sycamore sold to Big Timber Cattle Co. of Lithia, FL. The top selling spring pair was consigned by MC Livestock selling for $3,500 to Lonely Owl Acres of Ronceverte, WV. The top selling fall pair was Lot 20 and 20A from Legacy at Pine Hill selling for $3,800 to Old Pine Farm of Elkton, VA. Two bred heifers topped that division at $5,000, with Lot 13 from Bar Nun Cattle Co. selling to Crazy K Ranch and Lot 17 from Lawson Family Farms selling to Old Pine Farm of Elkton, VA.
This year the commercial heifer sale was made up of 88 lots of open heifers that were primarily comprised of commercial Angus, commercial Hereford, and black baldies. These heifers averaged $979. Daron Culbertson of Willingham Farm was the top consignor in the sale with 19 head averaging $1,126. Randy Kibler of Kibler Farms in Shenandoah, VA was next in line with 15 head averaging $1,067.
At the time this article was written, no sale results had been reported for the Limousin and Red Angus Sales.
With the future of youth enthusiasts being key to the success of the industry, the 2013 Virginia Beef Expo offered more than just an opportunity for them to compete in the Virginia Junior Beef Round-Up. A stockman’s contest, a beef ambassador contest, a FFA state tractor driving contest, and the Virginia State Cattle Working Contest were a few of the other events included to encourage youth participation.
The Beef Stockmen’s contest has been a tradition at the Virginia Beef Expo for years. Contestants were divided into junior and seniors based on their age. The junior division of the Beef Stockmen’s contest saw 21 participants, with top honors going to Paul Craun of Rockingham County 4-H with a total score of 409. Second place was awarded to Ethan Clouse of Montgomery County 4-H with a total score of 396. Caleb Boden, Zach McCall, and Alex Wheeler also won top honors in the junior division. The senior division of the Beef Stockmen’s contest had a total of 35 individuals. This year’s first place winner was awarded to Phillip Saunders of Amherst/Nelson 4-H Livestock Club. Phillip posted a score of 424. Lindsey Fenster of Rockbridge 4-H was awarded second place with a total score of 419. Top honors were also awarded to Cody Boden, Catie Hope, and Hunter Wimmer.
The Virginia Beef Expo was excited to host the Virginia Beef Ambassador Contest this year for the first time. The contest featured five junior and three senior contestants from across the Commonwealth. Phillip Saunders of Nelson County won the junior competition, and Kate Belcher of Washington County won the senior competition. These two contestants were awarded prize money and were offered an opportunity to compete in the national contest that will be held later in 2013 in Arkansas.
The FFA State Tractor Driving Contests was another hit for youth at the Expo. The event included operating a tractor with both a two and four wheel implement attached. There was also a written and practical exam. After all was said and done, Dakota Nowers of Rural Retreat FFA Chapter was announced the winner of the 2013 FFA State Tractor Driving Contest.
Another big event for the youngsters was the 2013 State Youth Cattle Working Contest. Earlier this spring, five regional contests were held in various locations across the state to determine the Top 10 teams that would be represented at the 2013 State Youth Cattle Working Contest. The two teams representing the Madison area were Orange County A (Garrett Chambers, Kelly Shifflett, and John Michael Knight) and Orange County B (Robert Nixon, Zachary Swope, and Blake Hopkins). In Southwest Virginia, the two teams that moved on to the State competition were: Grayson County A (Richard Tre Parks, Ethan Reedy, and Jordan Roten) and Grayson County B (Kayla Johnson, Jared Hunter, and Lucas Mitchell). From the Southern Piedmont Regional contest, Randolph Henry FFA (Ryan Hamlett, Dottie Long, and Scott Pugh) moved on to the state level. The Shenandoah Valley region sent Riverheads FFA (Weston Snyder, Cole Leonard, and Mackenza Muncy) and Rockingham County 4-H (Zack Seekford, Ashley Craun, and Caroline Warns) on to the state level. From the New River Valley region, Pulaski County A (Heath Sutphin, Courtney Jones, and Jennifer Jones), Rural Retreat (Ashton Matney, Michael Addison, and Hunter Addison), and Pulaski County B (Micah Taylor, Blake Smith, and Tori Kegley) went on to compete in the state contest.
For the 2013 State Youth Cattle Working Contest, first place was awarded to Orange County B, which consisted of Robert Nixon, Zachary Swope, and Blake Hopkins. Orange County A, which consisted of Garret Chambers, Kelly Shifflett, and John Michael Knight, took home second place honors.
In addition to the sales, shows, contests, and educational workshops those in attendance had the opportunity to stroll through an impressive trade show.
“The 2013 Virginia Beef Expo was by all measures a success. If there was a theme that developed from the activities of the three-day weekend, it would have to be opportunity. It is never easy to keep an annual event fresh and vibrant no matter what the cause or audience, and the Virginia Beef Expo may have gotten into a rut over the past few years. This year’s version introduced some subtle changes that created optimism for future growth. The Virginia Beef Expo is a unique Virginia beef industry event that will hang around for years to come through partnership and collaboration among the many old and new supporters this year’s version showcased,” said Jason Carter, executive secretary of the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association.