Holmes 4-H’ers go hog wild for chance at carcass show

Holmes 4-H’ers go hog wild for chance at carcass show

Image Credit: Dave Mast

After years of waiting, the Holmes County 4-Hers who raise swine finally got to go the extra mile and participate in the carcass show that took place Thursday, Aug. 18 at Sugar Valley Meats.

The wait was well worth it.

I think the kids were excited about this opportunity,” said Kyle Hannah, Holmes County 4-H Livestock market swine committee member. “They’ve seen the beef kids do it, and they’ve always wondered about this possibility, and they really wanted to participate in it.”

In addition to the beef carcass show, this also marked the first year the lambs were at the carcass contest, which only added to the swine raisers to want a crack at it.

In the past the swine have always been a huge part of the Holmes County Fair sale, providing great competition for the top 10.

To hear presenter and judge Dr. Lyda Garcia of the Ohio State University talk to the kids about their swine projects and to hear her talk about the great quality she saw among the top 10 was music to Hannah’s ears. It also gave the kids insight as to what makes the ideal cuts, the best overall hog and how important the end product is as it goes from market to table.

“We’ve got a great group of kids in the hog barn,” Hannah said. “They all do an awesome job, and as someone who sells feed, I see what is going out to whom, and it is cool to see how their effort turned into something great in the cooler. All in all they’ve done a fantastic job this year.”

He said there was tremendous value in hearing Garcia talk about the process, the importance of feed and caring for an animal to produce the top meat.

“This is something they can take back with them and learn from,” Hannah said.

Following Garcia’s presentation, banners and ribbons were awarded to the winners.

Madison Ringwalt’s swine earned her a grand champion banner while the reserve grand champion banner went to Cole Rusk. Finishing out the top 10 were Pacee Miller, Nate Sprang, Sam Sprang, Emily Harrower, Chloe Patten, Eva Schmucker, Derek Miller and Wade Miller.

“This feels really good,” Rusk said. “It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.”

Rusk also finished in the top 10 in the steer carcass show, placing ninth.

While it was the carcass show, Hannah spoke about the support the kids got at the fair during the auction this year, where price per pound for the hogs hit record proportions by a wide margin.

“I don’t even know what to say about the prices that we saw. We are humbled and blessed by this community that continues to turn out and support our kids,” Hannah said. “We are so fortunate as a county to have the support we do from the local businesses and individuals.”

He said back when he was raising hogs, a bid of $2.50 or $3 a pound was great. This year saw a large majority of the youth earning $10 per pound and upward.

As for Garcia, she said placing the top 10 is difficult when there is that much quality.

“As judging carcasses go, it is unfortunate that I have to differentiate by a tenth of a number,” Garcia said. “There’s not a single bad one in the bunch. My guess is this was so close that if we spread these out across the counties in Ohio, each one would have a good chance to win.”

She said the back fat of the hogs played an integral role in determining the top carcasses, with Ringwalt, Rusk and Pacee Miller’s hogs each coming in with a back fat content of 0.5. Those three hogs also had the best lean percentage.

For the 10, it was a golden opportunity to enjoy a new aspect of the fair that should help them gain better insight into what to aim for at next year’s fair.