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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Youth Swine Showmanship

Livestock Update, October 1998

Allen Harper, Extension Animal Scientist, Swine, Virginia Tech Tidewater AREC

In Virginia and other states the number of commercial farms that produce hogs has declined while the number of hogs produced has remained relatively stable. This means that hog farms have become fewer in number but larger in size. Despite this trend, 4-H and FFA youth market hog project participation throughout the state has remained strong. In many cases non-farm kids in rural areas are participating in the market hog project or kids from beef, dairy, or sheep backgrounds. All of this is good because participation in the market hog project is a great way to learn about pigs and the responsible care and management required to raise pigs successfully.

Most market hog projects culminate with participation in a local or regional hog show. From Clarke County to Virginia Beach to Roanoke and points in between, youth market hog shows are alive and well. In the Virginia State Fair, youth market hog participation increased from 37 exhibitors in 1997 to 48 exhibitors in 1998. Many youth hog exhibitors have limited experience in hog showmanship. But, contrary to what some believe, good hog showmanship is not an undisciplined exercise in which kids drive pigs about in a show ring in random directions. The following are some points to focus on as youth exhibitors strive to improve their showmanship skills.

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