Keeping Swine Industry Alive In Younger Generations - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Keeping Swine Industry Alive In Younger Generations

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 By: Claire Powell


Iowa is the number one pork producing state, so it's only natural that the love of raising pigs has been passed down generation to generation.

The Iowa Pork Producer's Association and Iowa State University created the first annual Cyclone Swine Spectacular for a way for kids to explore and learn about the swine industry.

"When it comes to the agricultural industry, that passion starts at a young age. Growing up on a farm hands on, you learn so much ownership and responsibility," said Kelsey Sutters, Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Kids ages 8-18 could participate in exhibits, presentations and finally, showing their pigs in the ring. Some have been showing pigs since they were very young.

"I just grew into it I guess you could say, and just loved it ever since," said Gavin Branderhorst, who has been showing pigs since he was seven.  

"My dad thought it was going to be the easiest job, it's not. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication," said Gabryelle Gilliam, who drove all the way from Kansas to show her pigs.

Dedication and hard work were the resounding lessons throughout the area.

Raising pigs is not a walk in the show ring.

"It's all about hard work and responsibility. Everything you put into this eventually you're going to get something out of it," said Gilliam.

"You just learn a lot. A lot of values you can use in life and teaches kids a lot of responsibility," said Branderhorst.

It takes months of preparation all for a few hours of showing.

"It is a lot of work to be able to do all this stuff, take care of your pig; feed it, wash it, clean their pens, oil them, make sure they're skins soft," said eight-year-old Dalton Shanks.

"Patience... hard work and dedication always being out there to make sure that they're comfortable," said Gilliam.

This generation already has plans to keep passing on the Iowa way of life.

"When you get grandchildren you can tell them how much fun showing is, it's a lot of work but you just got to take good care of them," said Shanks. 

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