Welcome to The Blue Ribbon - Youth Livestock Projects blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide information, advice and suggestions for improving youth livestock projects from multiple sources. The information, advice and suggestions in this blog come from professional agricultural educators who have multiple years of experience working with youth and their livestock projects. If you ever have a question or a particular subject you would like addressed, please feel free to contact Scott Stinnett via email, or leave a comment and we will do our best to assist or address the subject. Should the question or subject be more technical, we will help direct you to an appropriate resource for the best possible answer.

Thank you,

Scott Stinnett and The Blue Ribbon Contributors

Friday, February 3, 2017

Purchasing Livestock

     Many youth have one or two animals for their livestock project each year. Those project animals are usually purchased from breeders who make an income from raising livestock to sell to youth. Buying these animals can be a little intimidating at times. Youth want to buy the best animal for their budget and the breeders want to receive the most money for the animals they sell.

       So what are the ways to purchase a youth project animal? Let's put the buying experience into three options and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

Private Treaty

     Private treaty is the term used to describe buying an animal in person from the breeder. If this is the first livestock project for a youth, this may be the best way to learn about the animals you are about to raise and can be the least intimidating.
  • Meet the breeder and learn about the animals for sale
  • Compare multiple animals and then decide on which to purchase
  • Be able to see the parents of the animals for sale
  • Establish a relationship with a breeder for the future
  • May travel to multiple breeders before finding the animal you want to purchase
  • Animals are sold on a first come, first serve basis and some animals may already be sold
  • Prices are set by the breeder and not through competitive bids
Live Auction

     During a live auction, animals are brought to a specific location to be sold through an auction to the highest bidder. Most bidders are present at the auction, but some may be bidding over the phone or online.

  • Multiple animals are available to compare and all are for sale
  • Prices are set through competitive bidding
  • Auctions are professionally operated by the auction company
  • Bidding happens fast and you must be ready to purchase an animal quickly
  • Competitive bids can drive prices higher than expected
  • Usually cannot see parents of animals for sale unless the auction is held at the breeder's farm or ranch
Online Sales

     Breeders post pictures and videos of animals for sale on an internet webpage. Animals are usually sold through an auction format. Bidders send in their bids online and the web page updates the newest bid on the animal until the time for the auction closes.

  • Animals from across the country can be for sale in an online auction
  • Bidding can be done from the home computer or even smartphone
  • Multiple animals can be compared on multiple online sales
  • Bidders from across the country can push prices higher than at a live auction
  • Animals are not available to look at in person, and pictures or videos may be older, not showing the current condition of the animal
  • Arrangements must be made to have purchased animals picked up or delivered to buyer
     The three options all have advantages and disadvantages. The option that is best for purchasing an animal depends on how comfortable you are with that option.

     Talk to other youth and parents about their experiences purchasing animals. You may also get advice from your Extension Agent or local Agricultural Education teacher.

Good luck with your search.

Scott Stinnett
Extension Associate
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension

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