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JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — Typically, people don’t want to pay for something they’re not going to keep or use.

But that’s exactly what the buyers at the Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show and the Llano County Junior Livestock Show do.

“All you get is that feeling of helping somebody,” said Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show buyer Danny Floyd of DIJ Construction. “It’s a great feeling.”

It’s a feeling others can enjoy as well through buying committees.

Many times, buyers will pool together their money during the show, he said. That way, students will get the most money they can.

“A lot of kids will have 15 buyers on the list,” he said. “It’s a neat community process. You can support the whole county.”

“It’s close to my heart,” said John “Johnny Boy” Schuessler, who’s in charge of the sale committee for the Llano County Junior Livestock Show.

In the two shows, the sales are “premium sales” because the funds are basically donations to the youth who keep their livestock projects. If the student heads to a larger show, such as San Antonio or Houston, these are classified as terminal shows. If somebody buys an animal in those larger events, the student relinquishes it.

The hope is local students will be able to sell their animal for a bigger payday at the major livestock shows.

The Llano County Junior Livestock Show is Jan. 8-10 at the John L. Kuykendall Arena & Event Centers, 2200 RR 152 West in Llano. Schuessler has been part of the show for as long as he can remember. In 1979, he became in charge of the sales committee, adding he’s had a lot of help. One of the biggest supporters is David Willmann, president of the Llano National Bank. The two send out numerous letters and make countless calls to remind people of the show and encourage their participation, Schuessler said. Individuals are welcome to contact a member of the sales committee to team up with a group.

“They’re always gracious, giving $100 to $200,” he said. “That adds up.”

The Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show is Jan. 8-10 at the Burnet County Fairgrounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet.

Floyd, who has been buying in the livestock show since 1985, said the event is especially close to the his heart and the heart of his brother, Wynn. The two grew up on a dairy farm where they also raised pigs for show. He said livestock require a lot of attention and time — every day of the week.

Schuessler said he has noticed the number of people going into the actual livestock business is decreasing.

“Boys and girls (in farming are) getting to be a minority,” he said. “You look at the age of farmers, (most) are way north of 60. There’s not enough children interested, it’s not profitable enough.”

Both Schuessler and Floyd said students who participate in the shows discover plenty about themselves in addition to learning skills. They learn the true meaning of commitment and preparation for the job market.

“It teaches those little ones responsibilities, accountability and a gracious attitude of victory and defeat,” Schuessler said.

Most buyers do not have a preference of what kind of animal is purchased; rather, they want to encourage and reward the hard work and commitment shown by the student.

“We stay in contact with the (agriculture) teacher and 4-H leaders,” Floyd said. “We know which kids have been working hard and the kids who write thank-you notes.”

Writing a thank-you note and including a photo, he said, means as much to a buyer as seeing a student’s animal at the show. Floyd said he is not shy about his love for the livestock show and makes it a point to share that with his customers.

“We have clients who live in other states who don’t have a clue who the kids are,” he said. “(Receiving a thank-you note and photo) makes them want to give money.”

Floyd advises students to study their animals, stay in contact with breeders, teachers and leaders, and implement what they’re told to do.

Those involved in the shows do it for one reason, Floyd and Schuessler said.

“To support the youth,” Floyd said. “Those kids work hard on those projects.”

Call the Llano County AgriLife Extension office at (325) 247-5159 or the Burnet County AgriLife Extension office at (512) 756-5463 for more information on the shows or how to get involved.

jfierro@thepicayune.com