Online Sales Help Student Organizations

March 21, 2018

These days you can buy almost anything online; you can add cows, pigs, and horses to the possibilities. Three Department of Animal Sciences organizations, (the Livestock Judging Team, the Buckeye Dairy Club, and the Ohio State Equine Program) have embraced the idea of online shopping for fundraising opportunities.

“Over the years, different teams have put on different fundraisers to help offset the costs of traveling to contests throughout the Midwest. These fundraisers were often silent auctions, live auctions or raffles. However, in the spring of 2015 the Livestock Judging Team did have an online sale and raised around $7,000,” said Livestock Judging Team Coach Hank LeVan. “When I was in my undergrad at Western Illinois University, we hosted an online sale to raise money for our department and it was very successful. I wanted to implement those same kinds of ideas in my role here at The Ohio State University.”

Visitors at last year's Buckeye Bonanza Open House & Sale PreviewEach organization’s online fundraiser looks a little different. The Livestock Judging Team is hosting theirs through on March 21st. Their sale is in an online-only format. The Ohio State Equine Program’s Buckeye Bonanza offers their horse sales online. However, they will host an Open House and Sale Preview on Saturday, April 15th from 10:00am to 3:00pm at the Ohio State Equine Facility in Dublin, Ohio (3658 Kays Rd.). The Open House offers buyers an opportunity to see the sale horses in advance, as well as offering a family-friendly event to raise awareness about the program. The Buckeye Dairy Club offers their dairy cattle sale, the Buckeye Classic Sale, in conjunction with the Spring Dairy Expo at the Ohio Expo Center, March 29th through the 30th. Bidders can preview the dairy cattle sale catalogs in advance. They then have the opportunity to bid in-person at the Spring Dairy Expo or online through Approximately three years ago, the sale began the online component.

“This was added at first by Jersey Marketing Service to the Jersey breed sale to increase the buyer numbers when the technology in the industry was growing. It was a success so the sale committee decided to make this available for all the breed sales,” said Buckeye Classic Sale Co-Chair Kate Sherman, a senior from Sunbury, Ohio. “This is a great way for those out-of-state buyers to have a chance to see the animal and bring her home as trucking can be arranged for them.”

The way the organizations gain items for the sales and the amount of proceeds they receive can vary as well. The Ohio State Equine Program receives sale horses through donation, or from those born to mares at the equine facility. Equine students spend time training and caring for the horses until they are ready for the sale. This may take several years. The program receives 100% of the proceeds from the sales. The Livestock Judging Team members solicited donations from the livestock industry and previous supporters. They too will receive 100% of the proceeds by utilizing an auction platform owned by an alumnus.

“ got involved because they are an Ohio based auction platform that markets livestock throughout the country. The owner, Roger Hunker, is an OSU alumni and a past member of the Livestock Judging Team. While there are several different auction platforms available, I wanted to keep the focus of the sale on OSU and showcase the industry leaders that play a major role in Ohio livestock production,” said LeVan.The Buckeye Dairy Club

The Buckeye Dairy Club receives a percentage commission from each cow sold during the Buckeye Classic. This is because they work with members from the various Ohio breed associations (five breeds are sold in the sale) to obtain consignment cows to be sold during the different breed sales (Jersey, Holstein, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn, and Guernsey).

“The Ohio Breed Associations work with a committee of Buckeye Dairy Club members to get consignments for the sale starting in November with over 100 head of heifers and cows,” said Sherman. “The committee then arranges feed, hay, advertising, vet arrangements, and catalogs for the sale. Buckeye Dairy Club members care for the animals 24 hours a day the week of the event washing, feeding, and leading the animals in the show and sales.”

For all three organizations, these sales make an important contribution towards maintaining their operating costs. The Buckeye Bonanza allows the Equine Program to continue to care for the horses, and contributes towards education and training for both students and horses in the program. The funds from the Buckeye Classic Sale support the Buckeye Dairy Club’s annual trip to the American Dairy Science Association – Student Affiliate Division annual meeting, dinner at each club meeting, and campus and community outreach opportunities. The Livestock Judging Team hopes to purchase a 12-passenger van with their proceeds.

“WThe Ohio State Livestock Judging Teame drive an average of 20,000 miles per year practicing and competing in contests. It will be nice to have a vehicle of our own that we can use as a sense of branding and promotion for the Livestock Judging Team,” said LeVan. “It will save us money, provide some reassurance on long trips because we know about the vehicles history, and help to promote the Livestock Judging Team at The Ohio State University.”

Whether online or in-person, all of these sales require coordination and effort from students, faculty, staff, and donors. The success of these sales can shape the direction and outreach efforts for the organizations’ future.

Writer: Amber Robinson