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New hog barn to be built with help of 236-pound market hog at Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds

August 27, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Samantha Cogle, 18, of Kabletown, W.Va., sold her market hog, Lucy, for $885 on Saturday at the Jefferson County Fair.
By Richard F. Belisle

LEETOWN, W.Va. — A new hog barn will be built at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds thanks in part to Lucy, a 236-pound market hog that sold for $885 Saturday at the Jefferson County Fair's livestock auction.

Ten percent of Lucy's selling price is being donated to the H. Hart Bennett Foundation by her owner, Samantha Cogle, 18, of Kabletown, W.Va.

The foundation is named for the late H. Hart Bennett, former fair board member who died in a hunting accident two years ago, Cogle said.

"Hart showed animals when he was young and was a great supporter of the fair," she said.

The foundation was set up to raise money to build the new hog barn.

Cogle, a freshman at Potomac State University in Keyser, W.Va., is majoring in agricultural education. She said she hopes to teach, first in Jefferson County, then later somewhere in the West.

Lucy was one of 143 animals auctioned off Saturday. There were 37 hogs, 13 steers, 41 goats and 52 lambs.

Bonanza, Shelby Silveous's Boer goat, was named grand champion in goat judging earlier this week.

Shelby, 10, a fifth-grader at T.A. Lowery Elementary School, said Bonanza toughens up his muscles by jumping on fences and eating Purina Show Chow morning and night.

She began exhibiting last year with a hog.

"It sold for $835," she said. "I invest the money I make for animals for next year."

According to the rules, any 4-H or Future Farmers of America member between the ages of 9 an  21 can show animals. Children younger than 9 and adults show in the open class.

Cogle showed her first animal, a heifer, when she was 3 and has been back every year showing heifers, market steers, hogs and lambs.

It doesn't bother her to see her animals sell for slaughter.

"They're raised for food and people need food to live," she said. "I just don't eat animals I raise."

Bob Tabb of Jefferson County, deputy commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, said it might seem that exhibitors make a lot of money raising animals to sell at the fair, but most don't earn minimum wage.

"These animals are hand-raised and cared for every day by these kids," he said.

They have to maintain exact records on their growth progress The price of feed goes up every year and the animals require the best, most expensive feed to get them to show quality, one fair official said.

"It's not about making money," Tabb said. "It's about the experience and love of animals, learning responsibility and how to work with animals. They develop a strong camaraderie and make lifelong friendships."

Many fair auction buyers are businesses that are willing to pay prices well above what the animals would bring in a regular livestock sale.

Among Saturday's big bidders were the Bank of Charles Town, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Bucky's LTD Auto Body in Martinsburg, W.Va. The animals' owners get what they sell for on the block, but many buyers donate the animals or their proceeds at on the open livestock sale to charites, fire departments, animal welfare groups and the like.

The Bank of Charles Town bought Jenna Everhart's 270-pound hog for $3.20 a pound, or $864. Bank President Robert Baronner said the bank supports the young exhibitors at the fair every year.

This year, the bank is donating an animal to Jefferson Memorial Park for its annual ox roast fundraiser.

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