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EPHRATA – Organizers of a fund to support 4-H, Grange and FFA participants from Ephrata and Soap Lake at the annual stock sale during the Grant County Fair said the fund needs donations.

Valli Millard, director of the Ephrata-Soap Lake Ag Boosters, said the organization’s goal is to ensure that raising fair-trade animals is not a net loss for young people from the two communities.

“We try to support the youth by having them sell their animals at the fair,” Millard said.

Each year, the livestock pens at the fair are filled with hogs, lambs and cattle raised over the summer by 4-H, FFA and Grange participants. Young people sell their animals at the livestock sale with the goal of at least making enough money to cover their expenses. The Ag Boosters use the money raised each year to increase the price of animals that don’t get the bids they need to reach that goal.

Millard said the Ag Boosters have a pretty good idea of ​​the costs involved in raising an animal – and like everything else, they have increased in recent years. She attends the sales and records the average price and an estimate of the amount needed to break even. The Ag Boosters use their funds if a participant from Soap Lake or Ephrata does not break even.

“I’m going to go in and add some money,” Millard said.

The Ag Boosters supports participants from Ephrata and Soap Lake, Millard said. She checks eligibility because some participants have other support options.

For 2023, the Ag Boosters raised about $9,600, in addition to funds from the previous year. There is a small surplus in 2024, but donations are down. So far, donations are about $3,500; Millard said ideally the fund would have about $8,000 to $9,000 by the fair.

Donations can be sent to Millard, Ephrata-Soap Lake Youth Ag Boosters, ℅ First Interstate Bank, 66 Basin St. SW, Ephrata, WA 98823.

A flyer with information about Ag Boosters and a QR code has been distributed in the two communities, and people can also use that to donate, Millard said.

The Grant County Fair will take place this year from August 13th to 17th.