My Child, the Farmer
Having met Jared McCray last week, his comment that it is hard to begin to farm if you don’t come from a farm family was still resonating when I read a Facebook post by Mil-Ton farms that the local high school FFAs and 4-H clubs were holding their annual eggs, bacon and ham sale. Being a neophyte, I really had no idea what that meant but I went off happily, expecting to buy several dozen farm fresh eggs and a few pounds of pork.
I was surprised I needed to register but when I was told the breakfast was free, I was pretty happy. I chatted with some of the students from Cabell Midland High School. Most of them said their families lived on farms and a couple of the girls said they found FFA appealing for leadership growth and potential scholarships. Smart!
Then I met the auctioneer, Ronald Morrison. I still had no idea.
The room filled. The students were from Cabell and Lincoln Counties, involved in the FFA programs at the high schools and several 4-H programs.There were proud parents, people from affiliated businesses, a few representatives to the West Virginia House of Delegates, and me.
After giving everyone a chance to enjoy the scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, ham, and biscuits with or without gravy, the action started.
This was the 24th Annual FFA and 4-H ham, bacon and egg show and sale. Tables had the items on display. Eggs were white and brown. Bacon was presented in whole slabs. Hams looked like something I had last seen in Tennessee.
The auctioneer did an excellent job revving up excitement and enticing another $25 and another $25. He initiated the prices pretty high and urged them upwards from there. It soon became clear to me that I was not going to go home with any products.
This is the major fund raiser for the students and the Cabell Foundation for Agricultural Advancement.
The Champion White Eggs brought $700, the Champion Bacon brought $1250 and the Champion ham bidded up to $1500. In all, $3040 for the eggs, $8000 for the bacon, and $8980 for the ham: $20,020.
Of that, $650 was for Foundation products, who also auctioned off an FFA jacket for $350. That money goes to the scholarship fund. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Andrew Linville, a senior at Cabell Midland High School and a member of the Town & Country 4-H and the CMHS FFA. He plans to attend Cabell County Career Technology Center and a school for taxidermy.
The students pay $35 to enter this competition and also pay a $5 photo fee which is used to present the winner of each auction with a framed photo, identifying the purchase for payment. The proceeds from the sale of their item, after the fees were deducted, will be given to each student to help defray the cost of the care of the animal involved.
Nelson Meats were removing all the meats for slicing and the items would be delivered to the purchasers within a few days.
Mil-Ton Farms posted on FaceBook in the afternoon that some of the items had been donated back and were for sale (at market prices). What a win-win for everyone.
From comments that the auctioneer made I realized that these events occur statewide. If you have not been to one near you, contact your local FFA chapter for information. This next generation of farmers needs encouragement and who better than YOU!