PARKERSBURG- Hams, bacon and eggs from animals raised by members of the FFA Blennerhassett Chapter were sold to the highest bidder Friday night at the 64th annual Little Kanawha Ham and Bacon sale at Parkersburg Municipal Building.
Kari Brown, a teacher at the Wood County Technical Center, said the sale of the ham, bacon and eggs raises $7,000 to $8,000 a year and the students keep the money for school or to reinvest in their FAA projects.
Brown said there were 25 students from the Blennerhassett FFA in Wood County and a few from Tyler and Doddridge counties. She added the grand champion ham, raised by Austin Alatorre, a student at Parkersburg High School, went for $23 a pound.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Julia Baker, center, of Mineral Wells and a member of the Blennerhassett Chapter of the Wood County FFA, talks bacon to T.J. Life, left, and Sam Baker before taking her prime category rated bacon into the Ham & Bacon Sale Friday at the Parkersburg Municipal Building. Baker is a student at Parkersburg South High School.
Brown said those who chose to raise a pig begin in August and the pigs are slaughtered in November.
"We do everything except the slaughtering," she said. "We do the processing, grinding sausage, curing ham and bacon, smoking and trimming to get them ready."
Brown said the process takes about nine months to get ready for the show.
FAA students have to have some type of project, but they do not have to be animal related, she said.
"This is just an example of what we do," she said. "A lot of them who do this do not raise them for the fair; it a whole different project in itself."
Alatorre said this was his first time participating in the show. He said he raised the pig beginning in August and was responsible for making sure it was fed and watered.
"I played with it a lot; it was like my little pet," he said. "It was hard to have it slaughtered."
Alatorre said the project was a great experience and he was surprised his ham was judged as grand champion.
"I was hoping for it," he said. "I didn't think it would ever happen."
Wade Darnold is an alumnus of the FFA and has been part of the show for the past five years. He said he also raised other animals other than pigs. He is president of the FFA alumni group.
"I raise cattle and as a project I run a hay business," he said. "I do my ham and bacon hogs every year."
Darnold said he usually raises two hogs at a time.
"Two are raised better than one," he said. "My hams and bacons do really well; they have been high ranking."
Darnold added he shows cattle at the Interstate Fair every summer.
Darnold said he plans to continue to raise hogs and cattle.
"I'd like to keep everything going," he said. "I'll always be a supporter and help out the FFA and 4-H for as long as I can."
Garrett Westfall has been involved in FFA for four years.
At Friday's show he had two hams and two bacons. Westfall, who is the Blennerhassett Chapter president, said he plans to raise a hog for the Interstate Fair in July to be shown through the FFA. He said he raises more than hogs.
"I also raise cattle, turkeys and hogs through the year," he said.