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FFA Groups Ready For Show and Sale

By Staff | Mar 2, 2016

Photo by Lauren Matthews From left, Hailey Eastham, Meliah Umstead and Annie Fox are preparing for the 48th annual Wetzel County 4-H and FFA Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale, slated for March 11 at the Mollohan Center.

Wetzel County’s agriculturally involved youth will have a chance to show off their skills at the 48th annual Wetzel County 4-H and FFA Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale, to be held Friday, March 11, at Wetzel County’s Mollohan Center. Hundred, Valley, and Magnolia High Schools will all be represented at the event, one of the largest sales in the state of West Virginia.

Hundred FFA members Hailey Eastham, Annie Fox, and Meliah Umstead were all able to offer some insight, for those who know less about the process.

Umstead explained the months-long process of preparing for the show, which includes the purchase of a hog in late July. The hog is then butchered in November.

Eastham explained the tedious trimming process, which is done during the few weeks leading up to the show. Eastham explained the meat must have a “nice, flat face” and a “shank that is not too long.” She said the cuts should not be choppy. This year each FFA member will be trimming his or her own ham and/or bacon. This allows the members to take more ownership in their projects, as well as learn more from the experience.

Time spent on the projects does not necessarily equate to a sale either. Umstead explained that her bacon was not eligible for sale last year because it was not graded prime or choice.

As to buying the hogs, Umstead stated that sometimes parents might by the hogs for their children; however, she bought hers. Money from the sale goes back to the members. Umstead said she usually saves her in a bank account.

Besides ham and bacon, FFA members could also very well be considered experts when it comes to eggs.

Fox explained that leading up to the March 11 show and sale, she will be carefully selecting the best dozen eggs from her hens to show and hopefully sell.

Besides sorting and cleaning the eggs, Fox will also observe the air bubbles in the eggs. According to Fox, the freshest eggs have the smallest air bubbles.

Umstead and fellow FFA members estimated an extra hour a day each week is spent working on FFA-related activities.

Despite the extra time and energy that goes into the show and sale, the three girls said the event is fun, rather than nervewracking. Furthermore, the experience, and FFA in itself, is preparing them for their futures. For instance, Eastham said she wishes to be an agricultural education teacher.

To support the girls, as well as other county FFA youth in their endeavors, head to the annual show March 11. Exhibits will be displayed at about 4 p.m. The sale will begin at 7:30 p.m., and all meat will be bid and sold by the pound. Exhibits for the 48th annual show will be displayed

All meat has been processed in state-approved facilities. A panel of judges, who are not residents of Wetzel County, will evaluate the meat. The best ham and bacon will be declared Grand Champion, and the runner-up in each category will be designated the title of Reserve Champion. Only meat graded prime, the highest grade possible, or choice, the next highest grade, will be eligible to be sold in the sale. The best 10 dozen eggs will also be put up for auction. A Carhartt Jacket will be auctioned with proceeds going into the scholarship fund.

Complimentary samples of ham and bacon will be served for the public’s enjoyment. A number of college scholarships will also be awarded to seniors from money generated in past sales. Those who are unable to attend but wish to make a purchase are encouraged to call the following FFA advisors: John Smith, 304-455-1990; Annie Hall Erwin, 304-889-3151; or Scott Ash, 304-775-5221.