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 have ever met. Whether it is assisting them with recordkeeping, waste and soil sampling, providing certification classes, 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 inspiring is the opportunity to be a part of various 4-H youth livestock programs. These young people and their families have chosen to be completely committed to taking responsibility for animals, they make 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 eight events around the state that tests the swine showmanship skills of participants. The Carolina Swine Showmanship Circuit has three age divisions: Novice (5-8 years), Junior (9-13 years), and Senior (14-18 years). Participants are required to complete the Youth Quality Care for Animals Certification (YQCA) which is a national multi-species quality assurance program for youth ages 8 to 21 with a focus on three core pillars: food safety, animal well-being, and character development.
Participants accumulate points based on participation and performance at each show, all leading to the circuit finale 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 or more of these shows. Join us for the Sampson Swine Show at 10am on September 29, 2018 at the George P. Upton Jr. Livestock Facility located at 93 Agriculture Place, Clinton, NC 28328. 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”.
Max Knowles is an Extension Agent specializing in livestock with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center and can be reached by calling 910-592-7161.