June 12, 2013
Guest blogging today is Clara Jacob, creative director.
On June 4, several of us from Paulsen headed to Des Moines for the World Pork Expo’s 25th anniversary. Paulsen was there along with Passenger Productions to shoot video for Show-Rite, a line of show feed owned by Hubbard Feeds.
A record crowd of 20,000 attendees gathered for three days of total swine immersion. And a record crowd of 2,500 hogs entered the WPX Junior National show and sale. It’s clearly a robust and growing activity.
Children from all over the U.S. came to show their animals. Of course, their parents came, too. Driving all the way to Des Moines from Louisiana or Texas or Delaware with a hog trailer in tow is quite a commitment.
These were some impressive families. I spoke with a few children, whose speech was pleasantly peppered with, “Yes, Ma’ams,” and I found them to be unusually mature and responsible. Through video interviews, I also had the chance to speak with quite a few adults involved with the show industry in various roles.
What these adults had in common was that they’d grown up showing animals. One gentleman told me about attending the very first World Pork Expo as a child to show hogs. He was back this year for the 25th anniversary with his own children, who were showing as well.
Another gentleman, who sells both show and commercial feed, said he believes showing animals is the single most important activity for building the next generation of livestock producers. Not only does it allow farm kids to “grow up” in the business, but it gives newcomers a way into agriculture without making an immediate, full-scale commitment.
These folks said that being involved in 4-H and FFA as children led directly to their careers in ag today. Some are farmers and some work in agribusiness. That’s also true of some of my co-workers at Paulsen, like Chelsey Hunnel, Janet Andersen, Krystil Smit, Sara Steever, Marcus Squier and others.
Children and adults alike told me that 4-H and FFA are exceptionally positive activities for kids – better than sports, hobbies or jobs.
Any company or organization involved with agriculture would do well to connect with and support 4-H and FFA. It’s the future of farming. And it’s a growing market.
Young man showing a hog at the WPX 2013 Junior National Show & Sale in Des Moines.
Clara Jacob of Paulsen with Big Red, a 300-pound Show-Rite fed hog.