4-H/FFA Swine Show Saturday

Annual event gives community chance to rewardhard-working youths - and buy well-raised pork

Annual event gives community chance to rewardhard-working youths - and buy well-raised pork

February 13, 2007|by DONIELLE INSKEEP

In all, 19 youths will be showing their market hogs at the Washington County 4-H/FFA Spring Swine Show and Sale on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Hagerstown.

The annual show will be held at Four States Livestock Sales, off First Street in the city's southern end.

Use of Four States' facilities is again at the courtesy of owners Jim and Barb Starliper.

Anyone may attend and see firsthand the accomplishments of these Washington County youths and enjoy the auction following the show. Admission is free.

The youths, all members of the county 4-H Swine Club or of the FFA chapter at Clear Spring High School, are planning to show a total of 73 hogs.

In the show, which is to begin at 9 a.m., the youths will compete for junior, intermediate and senior showman honors. They'll be showing animals they have raised.


As they move their animals around the show ring, the judge will ask them questions about their animal. For some of the senior kids, the judge might even ask questions about the hog industry and about such topics as the cuts of meat and the price in this area.

Then at about 9:30 a.m., we'll start with the market show. In this, all the hogs will be judged for their market quality. We'll pick a grand champion pig, a reserve champion and a pair.

For the pair competition, each kid will enter the two of his or her pigs that are most similar in muscle structure. The idea is to teach kids when they're selecting their animals, that the industry wants a uniform product of the same meat quality to sell to the consumer.

For example , if I would walk two pigs in the showroom, I'm going to want mine to have the same width of shoulder, length of body, and development in their leg or ham muscle.

The lunchstand at Four States will be open throughout the day, but around noon, we'll break for lunch.

The market sale is to begin at 2 p.m.

The kids have been busy writing personal letters to people who have bought at the sale in the past.

But we always are grateful when new buyers come, too.

Here again, Jim Starliper is donating his services as the auctioneer. Likewise, his ringmen are volunteering their time, too.

Buyers - indeed, anyone who bids the prices up - are supporting 4-H, and they're earning tax writeoffs, too.

For example, if hogs are selling on the livestock market at 48 cents a pound the week of the sale and the buyer at our sale pays $2.50 a pound, then he or she can write off the $2.02 cents a pound difference.

And, if they donate the whole animal back to be resold again, as some buyers do, then the entire price is tax deductible.

The youths' long preparation for the show and sale gives them a chance to learn responsibility by caring for their animals. It's teaching them self-respect when they speak to the judge in the show ring, but they're also learning respect for their peers - especially if it's shaking another kid's hand for winning a class they participated in.

And, seeing the buyers from the community and feeling their support, it's nice to see them come in and support the kids.

A lot of the time, the money they're paying for these animals is money these children are going to use to go to college and expand their education.

And, a lot of the buyers are people in the industry they look up to and as their mentors.

I know about all this first hand because I grew up in the 4-H program in Frederick County. I raised hogs, showed them and sold them at such events as this.

Yes, I believe in the program. I truly do.

Hamby does well

A Washington County teen was among more than 200 youths from 13 states in Perry, Ga., for the first-ever National Junior Swine Association Southeast Regional.

Garrett Hamby, of Williamsport, was the only representative from Maryland at the Jan. 26-28 show. He has been a member of the National Junior Swine Association for five years and of 4-H in Washington County for 10 years.

Garrett exhibited the Yorkshire gilt and barrow that he's raised.

In the breeding show, for gilts born last August, Garrett won his class over 14 other competitors. But in the competition among the top gilts born in each of July, August and September, Garrett's animal lost to the older of the animals.

Despite that, Garrett drew high praise during the championship drive for Bred and Owned Yorkshire Female.

Judge Kim Brock, of Stillwater, Okla., told the crowd that the gilt Garrett exhibited is an example of what the Yorkshire breed of hogs is supposed to look like.

In the barrow show, Garrett's entry placed second in a class of 16 barrows.

Each competitor is also given an overall score - the total of points earned in the gilt show, for showmanship, and taking a knowledge test regarding the swine industry.

In that competition, Garrett won seventh place overall among more than 40 youths in the Senior Division of the Sweepstakes Contest.

Donielle Inskeep is an Extension educator for 4-H Youth Development in Washington County for the University of Maryland. If you'd like more information about the upcoming 4-H/FFA Spring Swine Show and Sale, contact her on weekdays at 301-791-1404 or via e-mail at

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