As a livestock agent with NC Cooperative Extension, I am privileged to work with swine farmers who are some of the hardest working people I know. Whether it is assisting them with recordkeeping, waste and soil sampling, or just listening to how their farm has been operating lately, I am always inspired by the passion and the drive they display every day.
Another aspect of my job that is especially inspiring is the opportunity to be a part of various 4-H youth livestock showing programs. These young people and their families have chosen to be completely committed to taking responsibility for these animals for many months making daily sacrifices to produce the best animal possible while learning, practicing, and perfecting their showmanship skills getting ready for the show ring. These youth are learning valuable life lessons about responsibility and achievement through hard work.
If you are interested in seeing these efforts at their best, be sure to check out the Carolina Swine Showmanship Circuit this fall. This particular circuit includes six events around the state that tests the swine showmanship skills of participants. Sponsored by Smithfield Foods, the North Carolina Pork Council, and the National Pork Producers Council, the circuit has three age divisions: Novice (5-8 years), Junior (9-13 years), and Senior (14-18 years). All participants are required to complete the National Pork Board’s “Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus” program and receive their “We Care” certification.
Participants accumulate points based on participation and performance at each show event all leading to the finale at the conclusion of the circuit when awards are presented during the NC State Fair. Healthy competition is displayed at every event, but teamwork, encouragement, and leadership are always present as well.
We invite you to see swine showmanship at its best this fall by checking out one of more of these shows. For more information about the circuit and specifics on locations, feel free to call our office at 910-592-7161 or visit their Facebook page “Carolina Swine Showmanship Circuit”. Don’t forget to join us and support our youth at the Sampson Swine Show on Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. located at the Sampson County Livestock Facility (55 Agriculture Place, Clinton, located off Hwy 421 just south of Clinton).
Carolina Swine Showmanship Circuit
- Albemarle Area Circuit Show (Sept. 2, 8 a.m.)
- Edgecombe County Livestock Show (Sept. 9, 9 a.m.)
- Duplin County (Sept. 14, 6 p.m.)
- Wilson County Fair (Sept. 19, 6 p.m.)
- Wayne Regional Ag Fair (Sept. 28, 6 p.m.)
- Sampson Swine Show (Oct. 3, 6 p.m.)
Max Knowles is an Extension Agent specializing in livestock with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.