Va. Hokie Harvest sale returns to Blacksburg
By JANE W. GRAHAM
BLACKSBURG, Va. (Oct. 24, 2017) — The 23rd Annual Hokie Harvest Sale is set to be held at the Virginia Tech Animal Judging Pavilion here Oct. 27 with the sale beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The sale is being put on by the 2017 Livestock Merchandising Class at Virginia Tech. The class is taught by Dr. Dan Eversole who has been leading it for 23 years and has taught nearly 1,600 university students. In that time the sale has grossed more than $2.6 million in departmental livestock sales.
“What a fantastic experience this has been for me to work with such outstanding undergraduate students, many of which have become industry leaders and prominent livestock producers,” Eversole said in an e-mail.
Eversole explained that the class, which began in 1995, is a junior level one with students from different majors, not just animal science, and from different colleges including engineering and business.
The sale has developed a significant reputation for selling high quality, university-owned livestock, Eversole said.
“This year’s offering features purebred and commercial beef cattle as well as 15 horses and again showcases our students in an experiential learning environment, Eversole said. “The Hokie Harvest is more than just a beef cattle or horse sale; it’s a fun-filled day with impressive beef cattle, athletic horses, great fellowship and delicious food.”
An advertisement for the sale reveals that 19 service age bulls are being offered for sale as well as 12 purebred females and 10 spring calving commercial bred heifers and eight spring calving commercial cows. The Angus, Simmental and Hereford breeds are represented in this offering. There is also a special embryo feature, the ad said.
In addition to the cattle, 15 horses are being sold online at https://horsesales.cals.vt.edu/
“Dr. Eversole’s Livestock Merchandising class has given me many opportunities to get involved with the production of an actual livestock sale,” student Linsey Dean said in an e-mail. “So many aspects and so much time and preparation are involved with a sale of this magnitude. Everyone in the class has taken responsibility for certain tasks which has helped to build our communication skills and improved our ability to work together to accomplish goals.”
Dean pointed out a number of things that make the class helpful to students’ futures.
“I believe it is very important that, as students in our prospective fields, we learn all of the aspects that make a livestock sale successful,” she wrote. “Every task from posting advertisements to the clerks that officiate all sales are vital for success. Personally, being a pre-vet student with the goal of becoming a large animal veterinarian, this class has shown me the producer side of having livestock and all of the important procedures that go behind making sure animals are sound and ready for auction. I am confident that I will use what I have learned in this class to help become the best veterinarian I can be.”
Dean was joined by her classmate Chris Lower in outlining what they are learning from the experience.
One of the things I accredit most to this class is my professional attitude towards selling animals,” he said. “This will help me in the future when I have my own sale or manage a sale. Marketing and advertising are some of the most important things I’ve learned in trying to sell animals. You must know the audience you are trying to capture to be able to have a successful sale. This is another great thing for me to learn not only for sales purpose but also for any type of agriculture (we all must know our audience and market; we do all sell a product).”
Lower sees the class helping him in a very personal way.
“The confidence I have gained in my experience in this class has been very beneficial to me,” he said. “Dr. Eversole makes the class very interactive and we are responsible for many different tasks (clipping, photography, advertising, clerking, food and beverage, ring and load in load out). We have been given responsibilities that we have to coordinate every detail back to Dr. Eversole who helps on every level. This teaches the class how to work and coordinate with a larger group and personal responsibilities. Which in return can help all of the students with managerial roles in the future.”
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