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Youngsters' hard work pays off at swine show

February 17, 2001

Youngsters' hard work pays off at swine show



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


Timmy Martin's efforts to raise a little heaven on the hoof paid off big Saturday ... not just for him but for the Washington County 4-H program, too.

Martin, a diminutive 10-year-old, won both grand champion and reserve champion hog at the 4-H/FFA Spring Swine Show at Four States Livestock Sales in Hagerstown.

"I'm really excited and surprised, especially winning the top two," Timmy said as the grueling competition came to an end around noon.

But the excitement wasn't over for the Smithsburg youngster.

During the afternoon sale, Timmy watched as his champion 250-pound hog brought $3 a pound. That animal was bought by the Wilson Ruritan Club and donated back to the 4-H organization for resale, said Jeff Semler, 4-H extension agent.

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Then the 270-pound reserve champion hog was sold for $2 a pound to Dick and Wendy Shank, who also donated it animal back to 4-H, Semler said.

The total of $1,290 will be added to the proceeds when the two animals are resold.

Youngsters who sold their animals for personal profit Saturday afternoon also fared well, as the average price of 76 to 77 cents per pound is about double the market value of pork.

A total of 53 animals were sold, Semler said.

This was the first time the show and sale were held on the same day and Semler said it went very well. Buyers were plentiful.

In groups matched by weights, the animals were paraded into the judging arena by their young masters.

Willard Lemaster, a University of Maryland extension agent, served as judge for the event and had high praise for the overall quality of the show animals.

"I have no worry about the future of the swine industry as I see these wonderful animals," Lemaster said.

For some, the occasion was like a trip to their pasts.

"I was involved in this with my brother many years ago," said Jane Hess of Ringgold. Her brother, the late Merle Hess, was active in 4-H in his youth.

Now Hess comes to watch her nephews compete.

"It's good for the kids and they can earn money for college," she said.

Allen Hess, 16, also of Ringgold, won three ribbons Saturday. He said he's been raising swine since he was 8, just like his father used to do.

Also successful was Joe Hessong, 12, of Greencastle, Pa., who had seven hogs to show Saturday and won seven ribbons. With the money he gets from the sale, Joe said he will pay his father money back and put the rest in the bank.

Most of the boys and girls showing swine Saturday are part of a long history in their family and in their community.

"We have a farm in Smithsburg called Ivy Hill Farm," said Steve Martin, father of the top winning youngster Saturday. "It is truly a family tradition."

Timmy said his father's experience went a long way to make him a winner.

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