2023 New Mexico State Fair Junior Livestock Auction

September 21, 2023

The Junior Livestock Auction is a big deal for the local champions that make it to this level, with the auction being the recognition of all their hard work and success in previous competitions.

Chance Trujillo with his champion lamb and friends

The 2023 New Mexico State Fair had its Junior Livestock Auction on Friday, September 15. This year’s auction set a new record for money raised, helping participants not only learn about the business of ranching but also earn money for the future.

The Junior Livestock Auction is the culminating event for student champions from around the state after a year of raising livestock in New Mexico FFA and 4-H. 

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte

They spend the year learning about the business of raising an animal. Practicalities like the cost of food, profit and loss statements, and other business matters are second hand to the student competitors.

After raising and caring for their animals all year, they take part in local competitions around the state. Champions from local events qualify to show and auction their animal at the New Mexico State Fair Junior Livestock Auction.

Record Setting Year

By selling their animals, students at the auction recoup expenses and can earn something extra to support the raising a new animal for competition, or to help pay for college or other future plans.

Chance Trujillo, his champion belt buckle, and his mom, Megan Otis

Last year the livestock auction raised a little over $600,000. For 2023 the Junior Livestock Auction brought in $710,090, a new record. 

The top prize for a steer went to Caleb Ramsey of Otero County, whose steer sold for $25,000.

Running the Junior Livestock Auction  

The livestock auction moves fast. For the uninitiated it can look like a blur of people, animals, loud bid calling and chaos.

Even for those who know, it’s exciting. As the auctioneer starts to call for bids people in the crowd will start clapping in unison to support the student competitor in the ring showing off the results of their hard work. 

New Mexico FFA State Officers Cole Kircher and Mirhonda Good

No one knows that better than the student leaders of the New Mexico Future Farmers of America and New Mexico 4-H, who were easily identifiable in their blue and green jackets.

At key points around the arena, the student leaders kept the process moving smoothly. “It may look effortless,” said Jordan Hamill of New Mexico FFA, “but that’s because we’re on top of things and keep it all moving. We love it!”

New Mexico FFA Officers Jordan Hamill and Bryce Bain

Support from the Community

The Junior Livestock Auction is a big deal for the local champions that make it to this level, with the auction being the recognition of all their hard work and success in previous competitions. 

Because not every student competitor has as large a support network as others, companies in the community contribute cash “add ons” to the winning bid, allowing the student competitor to earn more.

Pattern Energy was proud to be a sponsor of the 2023 New Mexico Junior Livestock Auction. In addition to being a sponsor, this year Assistant Vice President of Business Development Kevin Wentzel was joined by his daughter as they bid on animals in the auction. 

Kevin Wetzel, his daughter, and Jeremy Turner of Pattern Energy bid on animals

With them was Jeremy Turner, Pattern Energy’s Director of New Mexico Project Development.

“We love this part of our job,” said Wetzel. “Seeing these amazing animals and all the pride these students have in their work? It’s great.”

Turner agreed. His own kids have raised animals, so he knows the work involved. “Every kid you see here has put blood, sweat and tears into raising their animals. You can see how proud they are as they show them, and supporting these kids is an honor.”