pigs and kids

Growing Pigs and Raising Kids

As fair season closes, I reflect on what my years showing pigs in 4-H and FFA have taught me.


It takes an army, or a farm family, to pull off a summer of showing pigs. It all starts at the farm walking, washing, and feeding the pigs daily. From packing the trailer for shows to getting the pigs to the ring, it’s always a family effort. As much as you wanted to beat your sibling in the show ring, you wanted to see them succeed just as much as yourself. After all, your family shares the same dream you do.


As a high school and middle school teacher myself, it may seem contradictory for me to say this. I’ve always taken school very seriously, but I attribute my work ethic, time management, and responsibility to growing up in the livestock industry. Raising pigs requires several early mornings and late nights, but I wouldn’t trade the skills I’ve learned, friends I’ve made, or experiences I’ve had in the barns for anything. It’s the hands-on experiences that teach you more than a textbook.


All of the experiences gained in the barn and the show ring have led me to higher education and a new found career in agriculture. If you’re raised in farming it’s in your blood and you hope to pass on that same passion to others. I’ve learned through interviews and job searching that employers value those who were raised in the 4-H and FFA programs, as they prove to be stronger employees. Raising pigs has set the framework for a successful future.

After showing pigs at the Illinois State Fair for the last thirteen years, it’s bittersweet to watch from the sidelines. However, I cherish the memories I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, and pass on my love for raising and showing pigs to my four young nephews.This passion has led me to a career in agriculture education. I look forward to passing on the tradition of raising pigs to future generations in my family. I can’t think of a better family lifestyle than growing pigs and raising kids.


2018 IL Pork State Ambassador