McMinn Co. 4-H’er Wins Market Hog State Grand Champion

McMinn County 4-H’er, Caleb Latham, recently took home 2013 Grand Champion of the Tennessee Market Hog show out of 467 market hog exhibitors.  Caleb and his 317 lb. hog showed at the MTSU arena in Murfreesboro, TN and there the pair was able to place well in division market classes which as a result allowed them to compete in the final round.

Caleb’s hog project began in the early fall along with about 30 other 4-H’er in the county.  Many of the exhibitors attended practice sessions and clinics at both McMinn and Central high school.  There FFA teachers and other volunteers worked with the exhibitors to help them better understand proper care, showmanship, and handling in preparation for county, region, and state 4-H shows.  McMinn County Career and Technical Education Director Jonathan Pierce, also a local hog producer and youth livestock volunteer, said “We have to give a lot of credit to those in youth livestock positions when promoting these programs.  We are lucky in our county to have some great FFA teachers and 4H agents.”

To promote support for youth livestock programs in our community and express congratulations, the Athens Stockyard offered to auction Caleb’s market hog at the start of the livestock auction on Tuesday.  During the auction many of the agri-businesses of McMinn County partnered to purchase the grand champion at $3.20/lb. These businesses included Farm Credit, Farm Bureau, Ritchie Tractor, Snyder’s Feed/ Purina, and Athens Stockyard.  The industry partners then donated the meat from the hog to the Women At The Well Ministries.  Morgan’s Processing in Madisonville offered to process the hog at no cost and donate their efforts to the cause.   The local director of Women At The Well, Robin Nation said, “We are always in need of food and household items.   This donation will make a huge impact to our ministry.  It makes you feel good to see farmers giving back to those in need.”

“We are proud of all our 4-H’er and their hard work! I want to thank the parents for their support and allowing their children to learn through this experience.  It is our responsibility to encourage responsibility,” says Cayci Leamon, McMinn 4-H Agent.  Other placing at the state show include: Brandon MacMahan placed 2nd in the “Lightweight” class and Steven Watson placed 6th in the Market Weight Division class.