Elsberry school barn; more than a home for livestock by Alex Hogarth

_MG_0745It used to be that the only way a person could show livestock at the fair was by keeping the animals at their home to raise. Well, for the people who live in town, or with little land, it’s definitely hard to keep lambs, pigs or steer.

A few years ago the Elsberry R-II School District invested in a school barn for students in the FFA to keep their show animals. Pigs, sheep and goats are kept at the barn but steer are just a bit too large. Every student that keeps their animals at the barn has their own pin and has to clean it once to twice a week. If not, it will stink really badly and in the summer the flies could get pretty bad if pins aren’t kept up.

“We also have to clean each animal, which is not always such a fun task. Each animal has to be walked everyday to make sure they look good and get them ready to show,” explains Hogarth. “Typically we get all our animals when they are super small, but this past year we decided to keep some of the hogs and sheep to breed and have our own babies, which is a lot cheaper for the students in the long run and gives experience.”

Hogarth said they were there when their animals were born and have been taking care of them since.

“We raise them up for the Lincoln County Fair to show and hope we do well, this year all of our animals did awesome and we are very happy with all of the success,” said Hogarth. “At the fair, you auction one off so you can pay back the money you owe for the animal and the food. Part of the money you make also goes to the barn for the electric and water that the barn uses.”

But it’s not over for most of the kids at the barn, because most of them go to the state fair with the rest of their animals and show in August.

“The school barn is very important to a lot of the students who show, including myself and it teaches responsibility,” said Hogarth. “I have personally learned a lot from showing and taking care of hogs over the years and I’m still learning almost every day.”

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Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm