Group forms buyer’s coalition to support FFA, 4H students and SLO Foodbank after fair canceled

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 23:53:46-04

When the Mid-State Fair was canceled, it left many FFA and 4H students in limbo, wondering if and how they would sell their farm animals at auction.

It has now been decided there will be a virtual auction, but a huge hurdle remains and you might be the missing link.

Ashley Rosaliz is one of the hundreds of students who, for months, has fed, groomed and exercised her farm animals to sell at auction all with the hopes of cashing in on all her hard work.

"I'll be going to college this year. Hopefully, I'll be using it for books and especially tuition," Rosaliz said.

Unfortunately, this year, their cash cow may not yield the return they were hoping for because a major buyer has pulled out of the auction.

The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation reports it has been heavily affected by the pandemic.

In years past, the foundation was known for buying a bulk of the animals and paid well over market value. The organization then turned around and donated all the meat to the SLO Food Bank.

"Typically, that accounts for somewhere between 30-34 percent of the total meat supply that we have in a given year, so it's huge," SLO Food Bank Director of Operations Tim Parker said.

In an effort to make up for that loss, members of the James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund decided to form a Buyer's Coalition to raise the funds necessary to offset the loss.

"To try to support buying the animals and the projects from the kids so they don't lose money - we hope break even or at least make money on their project," Buyer's Coalition member Todd Ventura said.

The coalition also plans to donate the meat to the SLO Food Bank. It will be no easy feat with a deadline looming in less than two weeks. The virtual auction starts Wednesday, July 22.

"We're talking about $1.4 million or more just to replace what we're missing," Ventura said.

If you'd like to help support the Buyer's Coalition, click here for more information on how to donate.