JEFFERSON  — Months and months of work came to a culmination on Saturday for more than 270 4-H members as the Ashtabula County Fair Market Animal Sale drew hundreds of bidders to the fairgrounds.

“Prices seem to be doing very well,” said Ashtabula County Fair Market Animal Sale Manager Rob Jackam. Jackam’s wife works in the office as well and said there were a lot of new buyers this year and a lot of buyers who hadn’t participated in a while were back bidding.

Rob Jackam said there were 257 participants in the auction with a total of 18 categories being sold, ranging from cheese baskets to steers to turkeys. “Most of the species (prices) are up (but) the hogs are down a little bit,” he said.

Jackam said he doesn’t believe there is a specific reason for the market fluctuations. “I think it is a natural cycle,” he said.

Market animal sale records indicate there were about 286 participants 10 years ago, so numbers are relatively close even across decades.

The grand champion of the steer class brought in an auction bid of approximately $10,000 Jackam said. “It went for about eight dollars a pound,” he said.

Hundreds of people found the sale a little cooler than many years with lower humidity and a nice breeze. Four auctioneers kept the sale moving along, as well as volunteers who lined the contestants up before each individual sale.

Cheyanne Farmer, 16, of Andover, said the auction was “pretty exciting” but is sometimes a challenge to say good-bye to the animal you have worked with for more than a year.

“It can be (hard), you were with this animal for 18 months,” she said.

2019 Ashtabula Fair Queen Kayla Lindberg was busy posing for pictures, but also took time to participate in the lamb sale. “I will be selling my lamb soon,” she said.

Lindberg said she has been involved in the 4-H experience for 10 years. She said the 4-H experience is like having a second family.

“It (the fair) feels like home. ... No matter how I do everyone has my back,” she said.

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