Special 4-H Swine Project

October - December 2002

Tom Miller , county extension education director


Youth 4-H swine programs have had declining enrollment over the last several years. A number of reasons have contributed to the decline. Visiting with disillusioned participants it became apparent that there is a shortage of pigs available for 4-Hers to purchase. In addition, many 4-H families are not interested in paying large premiums to purchase “show pigs”, feeling they don't want to lose money on a 4-H project. Another problem which needed addressing is the lack of educational opportunities for kids enrolled in a swine project.


Working with Janet Smith, ISU Extension Henry county extension education director, it was decided to try a new swine class similar to the bucket-bottle calf project which has been adapted very successfully in the youth cattle shows. The 4-H Swine Committee was willing to try the new program in order to boost numbers of swine at the county show. The following rules were adapted to create a new swine class which was called “special swine class”.

Youth will purchase up to four head of swine from a common source decided on annually by the swine committee. All pigs will be selected randomly by pulling numbers from a hat. Entrants in this class will not be eligible to show either these pigs or other pigs in the regular swine show. Extra pigs from this class will be eligible to be shown and sold at the Henry County Open Swine Derby 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. Only two pigs from each individual will be allowed to be sold at the swine auction. If a third pig is brought to the fair they will be loaded out and sold with regular class derby pigs. Placing in this class will be based on four factors:

1- Derby results (from one pig scanned)- 40 pts
2- Showring results 10 pts
3- Individual interview 25 pts
4- Records 25 pts
100 pt total possible score

Pigs will be picked up approximately the first of April from either the producer's farm or a local site. Pigs will already be weighed, eartagged and vaccinated. The weigh-in date is later and the pigs will be heavier than the regular show reducing the need for supplemental heat and reducing the chance of disease or death due to chilling.
Participants will sign up for project by March 1 and will be expected to pay a $10 per head downpayment to be included in class.


Although participant numbers were limited the first year, those who did participate were extremely satisfied with their new project. Each participant said they would like to do it again another year and that they had learned a great deal. The record/interview judge made the statement that he was very impressed with the knowledge the young people had of their project especially considering that they had not grown up around swine operations. The live judge said he was interested in seeing this program being developed to educate more young people about swine production.


Page last updated: July 10, 2006
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