Swine Production Youth Activities

Larry K. McMullen, swine field specialist

The key to the future of swine production is the education and training of youth in the production of swine. Therefore, if the swine industry is to be viable in the future, 4-H / FFA members must receive through these organizations the knowledge and skills needed for success in the swine industry.

During 2004, several activities involving swine production has been provided to 4-H / FFA members. The following activities and programs were conducted or assisted by Larry McMullen, ISU Extension Swine Field Specialist, for 4-H / FFA youth: Jones County Premier Pork Production Project (PPPP), Southeast Area 4-H Livestock Workshop, State Fair Market Hog Weigh-In, State 4-H Conference Pork 101 Sessions, Carcass Data at County 4-H Swine Shows and a statewide Swine Judging Clinic. The PPPP is a production project where the participant puts 20/25 head of pigs on test. The PPPP participant must manage the pigs, keep a record book, and be interviewed. All the participants’ input costs are standardized and a committee ranks the participants according to standards of production achieved. A regional 4-H Livestock Workshop was held at the Cedar County Fairgrounds on April 17th. At this workshop, a seminar on exhibiting swine was conducted by Larry McMullen and assisted by Dr. Arlin Karsten, DVM, Swine Instructor at Kirkwood Community College. During the last week in April, three public sites at Clinton County Fairgrounds, DeWitt; Cedar County Fairgrounds, Tipton; and the Linn County Fairgrounds, Central City and several on-farm locations were provided for the State Fair 4-H Swine Market Hog weigh-in and verification process. On June 29th and 30th two Pork 10l sessions on Pork Quality were conducted on campus at ISU for 4-H members during the state 4-H conference. Swine carcass data was compiled for 4-H/FFA members for the Cedar, Jones, Jackson, Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott County swine shows that took place in July and August. In collaboration with Dr. Arlin Karsten at Kirkwood Community College (KCC) a swine judging clinic was held for 4-H and FFA youth on August 3rd at the KCC swine facilities.

Four Jones County 4-H members participated in the PPPP. Each participate produced approximately 23 head of pigs, provided records, and was interviewed for the project. Two Superior rating and two Excellent rating were achieved by the participants. Through local business donations, each of the Superior ratings received a $100 stipend and the Excellent ratings earned a $90 award. At the Livestock Workshop held in April at the Cedar County Fairgrounds, forty-two (42 / 26 male, 16 female) individuals participated in the swine exhibition clinic. During the State Fair 4-H Swine Verification process, a total of 599 pigs, over 20% of the total for the state, were verified at the three verification sites and on farms. The 599 pigs were from 49 4-H’ers and represented 277 derby pigs and 322 market hog nominations. The Pork 101 sessions instructed thirty-three (33 / 18 male, 15 female) 4-H members the attributes and selection criteria of pork as well as judging meat. Carcass data for the 4-H / FFA swine shows were compiled for 156 pigs in Cedar County, 192 pigs in Jones County, 34 pigs in Muscatine County, 52 pigs in Clinton County, 56 pigs in Jackson County, and 39 pigs in Scott County. A total of 529 carcass pigs were evaluated and the results ranked for the carcass divisions in the six county 4-H/FFA shows. At the swine judging clinic held in conjunction with Kirkwood Community College, nineteen (19 / 13 male, 6 female) 4-H / FFA youth were taught basic fundamentals and advanced techniques in judging swine. Instruction was given on estimating backfat depth, loin muscle area, and muscle thickness. Explanation of using Estimated Progeny Differences (EPDs) for placing animals was made as well as how to present a set of reasons. Several classes of hogs were presented for practice judging. With all of these swine related activities during 2004, numerous 4-H and FFA youth received valuable educational instruction and experiences in swine production.

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu