Strouse Show Pigs auction provides 4-H’ers with a chance to shine come fair time

Strouse Show Pigs auction provides 4-H’ers  with a chance to shine come fair time

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his little piggy went to Holmesville; this little piggy went to Charm; this little piggy went to Millersburg; this little piggy went to Clark.

Little piggies were making their way all over Holmes County and even to parts outside of the county during Strouse Show Pigs pig auction on Saturday, April 2 on his farm west of Millersburg.

The auction was created to provide 4-H pigs to youth who are striving to raise a pig to show at the Holmes County Fair later this summer.

When owner Eric Strouse began this endeavor with his son Keaton seven years ago, the idea was to provide young pigs to kids who had already received some training and been worked with by seasoned Holmes County 4-Hers.

While most of the pigs were sold to Holmes County kids, there were some that went to Medina, but regardless of where they went, Strouse said the concept is to give kids quality animals they can raise, work with and eventually show at their respective fairs.

“When we started this, it was all about helping the kids find an animal they felt comfortable with in raising,” Strouse said. “We liked the idea of providing Holmes County pigs that were born, bred and raised in Holmes County to Holmes County kids. Our goal is to provide a pig that can be taken to the fair and shown, and we encourage the kids to strive to work with their pigs so they can win their class. Most of our kids are tickled pink to do that.”

For the auction, families and the kids can come in early to view the pig selection and find ones they feel good about working with.

The pigs are still young, most of them born in January, and weigh from 50-80 pounds. Eventually, those pigs will have to fall inside the legal fair parameters of 225-290 pounds. Unlike years before, Strouse, who is a member of the Holmes County 4-H Swine Committee, said the fair has gone to a new rule this year and will not sell pigs that weigh more or less than in that parameter, meaning youth must raise their pigs carefully. He said most of them will have back-up pigs just in case they don’t meet those weight standards.

However, this day was about each pig finding a new home and a new owner, and another of the critical parts of the sale is talking to the kids about how to feed and care for their newly purchased animals.

Strouse said they have repeat customers each year, but they also see kids who are new to the process of raising a pig, and instructing them on the finer points of raising an animal is an area in which his son Keaton excels.

He also said to give the kids pigs that are more trainable, and well before the sale, he has older, skilled 4-H teens come in to work with the pigs on a regular basis as they develop.

He said this year that effort belonged to Taylor Patterson, who came in every other night after track practice to work with the pigs.

“Having the pigs feel comfortable with people around them is important, and Taylor would walk them and work with them like they were her own,” Strouse said. “She was great. That work helps tame the pigs down and gives the younger kids who buy them a better chance of being able to work with them.”

Strouse said when Keaton graduated from West Holmes, they began selling pigs out of their barn for two years before moving to the auction format. He said he isn’t alone in providing quality pigs for sale in Holmes County, where qualified raisers of swine offer plenty of variety. He said he has worked closely with Curt Lawrence near the Ashland/Holmes County line and Matt Feikert near Holmesville, and all of them understand the nuances that go into breeding and raising pigs. He also said all are thrilled to be able to have their animals purchased and shown in their home county.

“Once these youngsters buy the pigs, we always tell them that they are theirs now to care for, although we would all do anything to help a youngster learn if they have questions,” Strouse said. “It really is kind of fun to follow each of the pigs and the kids at the fair as they show and see how they have developed. It takes some experience, but it is both challenging and worthwhile.

“A lot of our pigs are bred for beginners, and we work hard to raise quality pigs that are properly trained and who look nice for showing at the fair. We like the idea of providing them with a pig where they don’t have to go far, they don’t spend a lot of money and they can have a good experience. We all feel that Holmes County has some of the best quality show pigs anywhere.”

These pigs may be small now, but come this summer, when they are properly fed and cared for, fans of the livestock show at the Holmes County Fair will see plenty of Strouse pigs parading around the show arena at Harvest Ridge.

Strouse said thanks in large part to the community. That is how it all comes together and all of the hard work pays off.


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