Savannah Lerch won Grand Champion in the pigs division during the second day of Fauquier’s 4-H Livestock Show and Sale Monday. Her pig was white and black, and together the duo was everything that judge Olivia Claire said it should be. “I look for how well the kids show the animal, the animal’s market readiness, its physical attributes, and if it’s a female, its maternal traits – will it make a good mother,” Claire said afterward. “There’s a pamphlet for the characteristics. But mostly we learn by judging throughout our college years.”
“Most of these kids are not farmers,” explained 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent Lenah Nguyen, in between announcing winners in a Fauquier Fairgrounds pavilion on Monday. “This is their version of joining soccer.” She said the young people sign up to gain life skills. “Things like responsibility, record-keeping, marketing yourself and your animals.”
Some Fauquier schools are raising livestock, Nguyen said, inspiring students to join 4-H, which is administered through extension offices of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.
For learning, fun and money
“We hold meetings, events, clinics and tours all year long for the kids,” Nguyen said. “And we visit each of the club members. We want to make sure that no one is falling behind.”
Over the two days of the show and sale, Nguyen and Claire oversaw 81 animals led around the paddock. Some students had spent years in 4-H. But yesterday’s Grand Champion pig was handled by a homeschooled, 8-year-old first timer. The Grand Champion reserve (that’s second place), went to Aaron Locke, who attends M.M. Pierce Elementary.
Last night saw the sale of every one of the 81 animals to individual supporters and businesses. Those kids grossed $110,083.30.
Karen Chaffraix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org