Perhaps one of the greatest activities of FFA and 4-H members is in our livestock exhibitions. There are various shows around the state in which students have the opportunity to compete and learn valuable life lessons in the process. Students learn responsibility, hard work, dedication and how to care for animals through participation in livestock shows. Many people do not realize the work involved in raising a quality animal begins months ahead of time and requires dedication from the student each day in order to be successful. Students who have animals that can successfully compete at this level are to be commended for their dedication and accomplishments. Congratulations go to any student who has cared for and/or shown any livestock this year in Alabama.
The time, effort, skill and money going into youth livestock projects across this state is helping to develop the future citizens and leaders. There is no way we can list all of the numerous organizations and individuals who contributed to the Alabama State Youth Market Hog Show without forgetting anyone, but I want to offer a sincere thank you to anyone who gave of their time, talent or resources to provide this opportunity to our youth. This event would not have been possible without the support of the Alabama Pork Producers and numerous county farmers’ federations.
Recently, the Alabama State Youth Market Hog Show was held January 23, 2013, at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan. The Alabama State Market Hog Show is the "grand finale," giving youth one last opportunity to show off their months of hard work and preparation with their market hog projects. The show was not only open to FFA members but any youth ages 4-19.
Judging the show was Kane Causemaker of Atkinson, Ill. Causemaker was charged with selecting champions in showmanship and market hog divisions. Champion Showman was awarded to Allison George of Eclectic. The Grand Champion Market Hog belonged to Reid McCord from Alexandria while the Reserve Champion Market Hog was bred and owned by the Meadows family of Woodland.
The livestock programs in Alabama promote quality family time, teamwork, research, self-esteem and many other character-building experiences.
"Any time we can get young people interested in agriculture, I think it’s a good thing," said Thomas Andress, chairman of the swine committee for the Alabama Youth Livestock Scholarship Foundation. "If time and energy are spent by the students and parents together, the show pig projects help our kids learn basic life skills that will help them develop into better citizens."
Last, I would like to encourage you to visit a local livestock show to see how proud our youth are of the livestock they have raised and the time they have invested. Every livestock show in Alabama is a great place to see our FFA and 4-H members displaying the fruits of their labors. Livestock shows provide a family-friendly atmosphere, great competition and a great educational experience for anyone who attends. A calendar of upcoming events can be found at www.alabamaffa.org.
Brittany Hill is Pell City FFA's co-advisor in St. Clair County.