Cheyenne Frontier FFA students promote agriculture with Catch-a-Pig program
Cheyenne – Cheyenne East High School FFA students decided to expand their swine production program at the high school by providing more opportunities for youth to get involved in the agriculture industry.
“We started Catch-a-Pig this year,” says Frontier FFA Chapter President Addysen Rosner. “We’ve had a breeding swine project for the last couple of years, and we’re finally able to start this.”
The Catch-a-Pig program will help first and second year swine showmen get started in the industry.
“We really wanted to promote the swine industry in Laramie County,” Rosner explains. “The best way to do that is to eliminate the starting costs for kids, since it’s very expensive to get started.”
Inside the program
Catch-a-Pig begins with local business sponsorships for the purchase of a hog.
“Kids who are interested will submit an application, and we’ll go through those applications,” Rosner says. “We’ll select a certain number of students, depending on the number of sponsors.”
Eligible students are between the ages of eight and 12, and they must be in their first or second year of raising swine.
The application process is in place to ensure that applicants have the facilities and financial ability to care for the animals, including food and necessary care items.
“We’re hoping to have a sponsor to provide a ‘starter’ kit for each kid, so they get a show whip, feed pan and their first bag of feed to get started,” Rosner comments.
After being selected, she continues, “They will have to catch a pig from a pen to match them with a sponsor. We’re hoping to have six pigs this year.”
Currently, Firstier Bank of Cheyenne and the Weekly family are sponsoring pigs.
At that point, the business sponsor will provide a scholarship for youths to purchase a pig from a local swine sale.
“The kids will receive a scholarship to go to a sale and purchase a pig,” Rosner says. “We want kids to learn how to select their own livestock and also be financially responsible by bidding on livestock.”
In addition to taking care of the pigs, successful applicants will have monthly project visits with Cheyenne Frontier FFA students, as well as a personal visit with their sponsor.
“We will visit to make sure the pigs are cared for properly,” Rosner comments. “They’ll also be asked to send three letters to our chapter and their sponsor. We’ve also asked them to advocate for their sponsor at the county fair.”
During the Laramie County Fair, successful applicants will show in their own Catch-a-Pig class.
“Our chapter is sponsoring a buckle for the winning student from that class,” she adds.
Rosner explains that the students at Cheyenne Frontier FFA have learned a number of things through their breeding swine project, and they hope to share that knowledge.
“We had two sows this year that we artificially inseminated in class to learn the process,” she says. “We had everyone participate by helping to take care of the pig, take photos, promoting the project and more. This project has really helped us to get more experience in business and learning about the swine industry that we wouldn’t be able to do normally.”
As they take their learning and experience with the hope of transferring that knowledge to younger students, Rosner says they are also looking toward the future of the ag industry.
“These youth are going to be the future,” she describes. “It’s important that they start advocating and get hands-on experience in the industry by knowing how to handle livestock and understand what it means to be a part of agriculture.”
Rosner comments, “We want to do whatever we can to give back to the kids who are the future of our industry.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.