Competitive 4-H Swine Class

Tom Miller, Project Planning Specialist-Ag, Southeast Area

Problem Statement: 

Youth participation in swine programs at the county level has declined in the last several years.  A number of reasons have contributed to the decline.  There has been a decline in the numbers of farms farrowing pigs.  Purchasing show pigs, although a cottage industry within the swine industry, is an expensive alternative.  Another problem which needed addressing is the lack of educational opportunities for kids enrolled in a swine project.

Programmatic Response: 

The following rules were adapted to create a new swine class which was called “Competitive swine class”.

Youth purchase up to four head of swine from a common source decided on annually by the swine committee.  All pigs are selected randomly by pulling numbers from a hat.  Entrants in this class are not eligible to show either these pigs or other pigs in the regular swine show.  Participants may bring a maximum of three pigs to the fair with at least one of them being shown as a derby class entrant.  The derby entrant will be the pig used in the formula which decides the overall champion of the class.  The other two pigs can be shown in the market class with the top pig competing for Supreme Grand Champion Swine at the Henry County Fair  Placing in this class will be based on three factors:

                                                                                100 pt total possible score

Pigs are picked up approximately the first of April from either the producer’s farm or a local site.  Pigs are already weighed, ear tagged and vaccinated (several vaccines).   The weigh-in date is the same date as the regular swine show but the pigs are not picked up until later making the pigs heavier than the regular show reducing the need for supplemental heat and reducing the chance of disease or death due to chilling.

Outcome Statement:

After seven years of including the Competitive swine class at the Henry County Fair, entrants in the class have grown to 14 youth.  Each year more youth have participated and this past year accounted for almost 1/2 of swine exhibitors at the fair.  The repeat entrants show the interest that youth have in this class.  The swine judge said he is very interested in seeing this program developed to educate more young people about swine production.  He felt that we will be challenged to meet employment needs in the swine industry as it evolves.


150  Iowa Pork Industry Center

Page last updated: April 14, 2009
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