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My Child, the Farmer

March 9, 2012

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.

Each product had been judged and presented to the crowd by the master of ceremonies. The student then carried the item around the room for closer view as the auction commenced.


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!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. kim black permalink
    March 11, 2012 5:11 pm

    i am one of those parents and also a cffaa committee member. it was very entertaining to read your perspective on the hbe sale. the participants and committee work very hard to make this program happen each year and we are very proud of out exhibitors. thanks for being there and sharing!!

    • March 11, 2012 5:42 pm

      I am so very new to the local foods concept and it is with great pleasure I am exploring what West Virginia has to offer. I hope that we can get the word out to the consumers because it seems that the producers have an issue getting their product to the market. If we can get the public aware, then a broader market can develop and it is a win-win for all.

  2. March 15, 2012 8:25 am

    I love the variety that FFA and agriculture education offers, this is something that I never go to experience through any youth agriculture programs. Very neat, and yes this is the next generation of leaders and agriculturist, lets keep supporting them!

    • March 15, 2012 8:28 am

      Funny how things go in cycles. I remember learning in school that an industrial society is an advancement over an agricultural one….but you ahve to wonder. As people move so far away from understanding where food comes from and eat mroe and more chemicals, we have become an unhealthy society. Thank goodness for the people who were at the forefront of making us turn back to old methods to regain healthy products and for us consumers who will pay for them.

  3. March 15, 2012 9:14 am

    I think that education is the key to showing people what is right and what is wrong. And well we are all entitled to our own opinions, thankfully agriculture has an option for everyone with in it! And the advancements of this industry have proved to be a strong point in this country in the last decade.

    • March 15, 2012 11:12 am

      Yes,that is true. The farmers who have small operations should be able to earn a living and helping consumers know that this option exists locally is the mission of this blog.

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