Ag students host 5th annual show pig sale

Photo by Kelli O'Toole/The News

Story by Paige Effinger, Contributing writer

The 5th Annual Show Pig Sale for the Hutson School of Agriculture took place April 1. The sale featured more than 50 of their best pigs.

The Pig Sale is an auction where people are looking to buy the pigs will be able to assess them before making a purchase. Any pigs that do not sell at the live auction will be sold online.

Every year, the sale is facilitated by the AGR 444 Livestock Management and Marketing class, who raise the pigs themselves to sell to people around the area. Another class, AGR 426 Experience in Swine Production, also assists with the sale by dealing with the business and operational side of the sale.

Emily Gill, senior agribusiness major from Oaktown, Illinois, said the class worked with the pigs, gave them vaccinations and clipped their teeth.

Emily Gill and Heath Durbin are the co-chairs and are enrolled in AGR 444 this semester; they got nominated by their class to be in charge of the Pig Sale.

Heath Durbin, senior agriculture business major from Calhoun, Kentucky, said the class is responsible for going out to the farm and deciding how they want to breed the pigs based on phenotypes and breeding.

Gill said a nice pig to buy depends on what type of pig you are looking for, such as a certain breed, or if you want certain characteristics. People buy pigs based on their individual need and purpose.

“Everybody has different opinions on what type of pig they want,” Durbin said.

In this area, most of the people they sell the pigs to are students who buy them for Future Farmers of America, or 4-H projects.

“We really pride ourselves on trying to make sure that the 4-H and FFA kids are successful,” Durbin said.

He said they average about $250 for each pig, but it depends on who is buying the pig and how much they are willing to pay for it. All of the proceeds from the sale go back into the Hutson School of Agriculture.

Gill said all of the pigs have a set starting amount – usually around $1 per pound.

“We are solely concerned with having enough money to make the farm advancements to open up more opportunities for Murray State students who are interested in the swine industry,” Durbin said.

The Pig Sale is something unique to Murray State, and Durbin said Murray State offers very unique experiential learning opportunities in the agriculture department.

“The way that our agriculture department is set up is special,” Durbin said. “We have a lot of opportunities to offer at Murray State.”