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SHIPSHEWANA, IN -- The Indiana Deer and Elk Farmers Association (IDEFA) held their benefit auction, annual meeting and fundraiser barbeque ribs and chicken dinner at Shipshewana Antique Barn on April 26, 2019. 
Over 400 turned out for the meal and in support of the state organization and their various efforts in the preservation of deer and elk farming.
The doors opened at 2 p.m. for IDEFA members and the general public to appreciate the numerous auction items including bags of food plot seed, gift certificates, coolers, horse care products and T-shirts. One of the more unusual offerings was a set amount of hours of labor to be used on a farm.
Mystery gun case lots added an element of intrigue and fun to the auction. Ten individual closed cases were on display with the buyer’s option to choose whichever case they wanted with unknown contents. The surprise within was either a gun, semen or cash, and the first case went for $5000. This was the second year for the gun case lots.
A popular item on display was a set of signs made of wood and antlers. Dave Sauders of New Haven, IN created the “Welcome” signs three years ago and chose to design one for the IDEFA auction. Three different plaques were offered with a variety of antlers used to make the letters. The buyer was allowed to choose one of the signs and the price was $650. The creative plaque was just one of the over 80 listed auction offerings, including slabs of ribs that sold for $100 each.
The fundraising efforts provided the group with a new record, increasing their confidence in pursuing their goals for the future and supporting the group and its members.
The meeting included the voting in of new officers along with several speakers on important topics of the day concerning the work of deer and elk farming. Sam Holley, North American Deer Farmers Association’s 2nd Vice President, shared on current issues from the national level. Shelly Chavis serves as a field veterinarian for the state of Indiana and shared information about health concerns for the animals. Other speakers included Myron Miller, who participates in committee work; Dennis Simpson; and John Whetstone.
Overall, the IDEFA board was quite happy with the results of the evening. Vice-President Lester Eicher expressed a positive response to the attendance and auction donations.
“Everything went smoothly,” Eicher said. “Good items were donated for the auction. We were pleased with the turnout.”

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