Dear Ag Families and Ag Leaders,
We want to introduce ourselves. We feel it's important that you know and understand who is behind 805 Ag Kids and what our role is in this year's Junior Livestock Virtual Auction and market shows.
805 Ag Kids is a grassroots community group, co-founded by Scott Toland and Megan Hook. Scott is the CEO/owner of The Toland Group – a full-service marketing agency with over 35 years of experience serving businesses and organizations within Ventura County and across the U.S. He is also a former 4-H leader, former livestock breeder, and longtime Junior Livestock Auction buyer. Megan is a former FFA member and regional officer, former Junior Fair Board member, and current parent of a junior livestock exhibitor who raises and breeds lambs.
Our 805 Ag Kids team works on behalf of our local ag kids - including 4-H, FFA, Grange & Independent kids - our mission is to support these youth in their animal agriculture education and projects. We advocate for them at fair board meetings and livestock committee meetings and are building a fund to provide no-interest loans and offer education scholarships.
Upon the cancellation of the 2020 Ventura County Fair, we knew our local ag kids would need more support than ever. Other fairs are reporting kid’s losses of $500 to $2,000 (depending on species) based on early auction prices.
Our fair stated that there was no space, staff or budget for an auction, or for marketing and advertising such an event, even if they found sponsors to pay for the virtual platform. They said it would be up to volunteers to make it happen.
That's where we came in. In a call with Ventura County Fair CEO Barbara Quaid and staff, we volunteered to help communicate and advertise this year's events for free. In about a week, we built our website to accommodate auction information for families and buyers, to accept donations through the Fair Foundation's 501c3, and we reached out and obtained more than 20 media sponsors in the Ventura County area who all agreed to help our 805 Ag Kids. (Maybe you've heard us on the radio or you’ve seen us on TV already?) We are incredibly grateful for all of their media support.
Additionally, we've solicited donations directly from the public. These donations will be divided up evenly among all of this year's participants. 100% of donations received will go to the kids, on top of whatever they earn at the virtual auction. We are not being paid or taking a "cut." No volunteers are being paid. There is no operating budget for 805 Ag Kids. Our website, all advertising and social media posts and ads, has been donated or we are paying for it personally.
It is our goal to make information available to interested families, sponsors and buyers as quickly as possible. However, often we must rely on the fair staff to provide us with the information and details you want to know. Our role, as 805 Ag Kids, is to help get your questions answered, communicate information to you as soon as we have it, to solicit donations to help kids recoup potential losses, and to advertise the auction to potential buyers.
While we are very much focused on ensuring this year's auction is a success, we have not lost sight of our overall mission: the kids. In addition to advertising the Junior Livestock Virtual Auction, we'd like to also help the kids get out in front of potential buyers by featuring them on our social media channels. Please watch for an email within the next week about how you can submit a photo and virtual buyer letter to us, if you would like to participate.
As of now, here's what we can tell you about this year's events. Please mark your calendars for these dates:
July 30-August 6:
Online registration/entries and video uploads due
Deadline for completing annual Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) training. Proof of completion must be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1.
Market judging for Rabbits
Market judging for goats, lambs, and poultry
Market judging for pigs
Marketing judging for steers
2020 Junior Livestock Virtual Auction
Add-ons accepted online
Additional information can be found in the flyer we sent out on June 5 here.
For those kindly asking how you can help: Thank you, first and foremost. As of now, the single most important thing you can do is spread the word about the Junior Livestock Virtual Auction on Saturday, August 15 to both junior livestock exhibitor families and to buyers.
Thank you for your time and for your dedication to our local ag kids.
Scott - email@example.com
Megan - firstname.lastname@example.org