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Future farmers hog the spotlight at ‘Showdown in the Springs Jackpot Swine Show’

By Kylie Cordell For Clay Today
Posted 1/18/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – More than 200 exhibitors from Florida and Georgia put their best four feet – and curly tails – forward during the fifth annual “Showdown in the Springs Jackpot Swine …

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Future farmers hog the spotlight at ‘Showdown in the Springs Jackpot Swine Show’


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – More than 200 exhibitors from Florida and Georgia put their best four feet – and curly tails – forward during the fifth annual “Showdown in the Springs Jackpot Swine Show” last Saturday at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

The event was hosted by the Clay County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. It was limited to participants between 8 and 21,

The show allowed members of 4-H and Future Farmers of America to build on their swine projects. Members purchase piglets, cared for them for six months, showcased them in regional competitions and sell them off at their local county fair.

In showmanship, exhibitors were judged on their ability to control and present their pig. That was followed by purebred market, crossbred market, purebred breeding, crossbred breeding and the Hometown category for Clay County contestants shows. The Hometown class featured a show record of 41 exhibitors.

Rylee Jannotti was the Hometown grand champion, while Maggie Mosley won the reserved grand champion. Rayghen Roberts finished third, followed by Isabella Cowherd in fourth and Mary Roberts in fifth.

Exhibitors said they show pigs for many reasons.

“Winning is a great feeling. Progressing with your pig from the beginning to the end and seeing how they have grown is amazing,” said Ashley, 13.

Although many of the contestants are “in it to win it,” Annabel, 18, was excited to be around like-minded people who share a passion for agriculture and livestock.

“I look surrounding myself with other people that show. It’s a great experience to talk with everyone,” she said.

Ryan joined FFA during his freshman year and has been showing pigs since. Although he enjoys the competitive aspect of showing pigs, the best part is watching them grow up. “I train my pig 40 minutes a day. I try to work with them and get them to walk with me. You have to bond with them,” he said.

Likewise, Chevy said showing pigs was an escape from everyday life, a chance to slow down and remove yourself from the daily grind. “It’s a getaway. The barn’s a quiet place and it’s just you and the pig,” he said.

Besides providing an opportunity to exhibit their pigs before the Clay County Agriculture Fair, the competition develops leadership skills in and outside the ring.

“They have to feed it, groom it. They learn how to train them and prepare them for the April show. They are completely responsible for their pig,” said Kelly Mosley, a Clay County Farm Bureau Board Member.

The program not only helps build leadership skills, but it also helps support high school students through and beyond college beyond.

“Many people have exhibited their pigs at the Clay County Fair and put themselves through college raising livestock,” she said.

Additionally, the Farm Bureau provides scholarships to graduating seniors and current college students whose parents or grandparents are Farm Bureau members. This scholarship program is very competitive, and the first preference will be given to applicants who will be pursuing a career in the field of agriculture.

Applications are available from a high school guidance counselor, FFA Adviser, Clay County Farm Bureau Facebook page or at the bureau at 2000 Henley Road in Middleburg. The Clay County Farm Bureau office must receive completed applications by Feb. 15.

“We also have another scholarship, the Katy Hendry Memorial Scholarship, which honors a beloved former agriculture teacher and FFA advisor of Clay County. That scholarship is for people who want to become agriculture teachers,” Mosley said. “We have 10 agricultural teachers in our junior high and high schools, and four of the 10 teachers went through our Fair Program, so that’s just one example of how they pay it forward.”

The Farm Bureau also awards 10 $200 mini-grants to teachers who want to do a project related to agriculture. By offering these scholarships and grants, the Farm Bureau helps create future leaders in agriculture and within the community.

“Less than 2% of the population is involved in farming and ranching. They feed and clothe the world, and most people are many generations removed from the farm, so they have no idea what actually happens on a farm,” Mosley said.

“So it’s important for the Farm Burea and other agricultural organizations that we do what we can to educate people, especially children, about where our food comes from.”

To learn more about the Clay County Farm Bureau, visit the Florida Farm Bureau Federation website or join their Facebook Page. For additional information about scholarships, contact Terri Davis at (904) 282-0644.