Raising Pigs a Group Effort for Youth at Fair Market Sale

4-H Member Liberty Lewer poses with the pig she raised. Submitted photo.

Wheelers Chevrolet GMC Bids on Pigs Raised by Youth

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Every summer at the fair, hard work pays off for youth when local businesses attend the Market Sale to bid on the farm animals.

Liberty Lewer of the Marawood County Line Riders 4-H was excited to sell her 272-pound pig to Wheelers Chevrolet GMC.

The business bid on two pigs and a steer Wednesday night. Owner Mary Jo Wheeler enjoys attending market sales each year in both Marshfield and Medford to directly support the youth who work hard to raise their farm animals and prepare them for market.

“My brother Dan and I are really strong believers in supporting the next step in the coming generation of the farm,” said Wheeler. “It’s a great program that the market animal sale provides for them. Dan and I are very happy to support it.”

Wheelers Chevrolet makes use of the meat by hosting weekly cookouts at the dealership for its employees.

Raising the pigs was a group effort for Liberty, who partnered with the Schiferl family. Mike Schiferl guided Liberty and his daughters Taylor and Emily through the process of raising a pig for the fair.

After purchase in May, the piglets stayed at Schiferl farm in Hewitt. Together the three girls, parents, and extended family made sure the pigs were well fed and cared for. The girls cleaned the pens and spent time with the pigs, walking them for exercise and training them for the fair.

With assistance from Mike, they monitored the pigs’ weight gain and made adjustments to the feed to reach the minimum weight of 245 pounds, while staying under 300 pounds.

“We live in town, so I am especially grateful for them giving her this opportunity to participate in the hog project. Over the years she has learned about caring for the animals and where food really comes from,” said Jessica Lewer, Liberty’s mom.

Youth attend at least three educational meetings between January and August, plus take the initiative to sell their animal by reaching out to local businesses and asking them to bid. Exhibitors need at least two bidders but are encouraged to secure more to raise the chances their animals will sell at a higher price.

“This requirement not only ensures business participation in the market sale, but gives the youth a chance to learn how to approach and talk to the business leaders,” Jessica said.

Each exhibitor drops off their hogs on Monday. The animals are weighed and its level of back fat is measured to make sure it qualifies for the sale.

For showing on Tuesday, the exhibitors prepare by bathing their pigs. Each gets two opportunities to showcase their animal. First, the animal is judged for certain body characteristics and in the second round, is judged by its appearance and the way it’s handled by the exhibitor.

The Market Sale on Wednesday featured 150 pigs, sheep, and steer for sale. Each were selected by random number draw.

Afterwards, exhibitors make sure to send thank-you notes to their bidders. They also write down what they have learned, the care they gave to the animal, and the costs.

Youth can use the profits from their sale in any number of ways, whether it’s providing funds to care for another animal next year, attending a variety of experiences offered through 4-H , or just to grow their college fund.

“This is Liberty’s fourth year of raising a pig and participating in the Market Sale,” said Jessica. “I am really grateful not only to the businesses that have purchased her animals over the years, but without the support of the Schiferl family she would not have had this opportunity.”

 

Kaylin S
Author: Kaylin S

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