Hello, I’m Holly Michael – farm wife, mother, blogger , DMM crazy headline writer and communications professional who has worked at some of Dayton’s largest companies. I straddle the sometimes equally stinky worlds of agriculture and corporate life, so you don’t have to
It’s absolutely incredible but the farmer I married, a man who can visit the entire grocery and emerge only with the food he needs for the next 20 minutes of his life, chose gilts in August to breed in September to birth in February to sell in April–all so they can be shown at the county fair again in September. Whew.
The output of all that planning ahead culminated in our annual spring pig sale (auction) last weekend. We sell young pigs (about 30-80 pounds) to 4-H members and their parents from across the country. After they leave our sale, the pigs are raised all summer by 4-H kids and then shown at county or state fairs.
As I mentioned above, ensuring you have the right pigs on hand for the sale involves months of pre-planning. In the weeks leading up to the auction, we also had a lot of work to do. And when I say “we,” I really mean my husband and his helpers.
Each pig selected for the sale was groomed beforehand. My husband and his pig clipping guru, Claude’, gave each pig a haircut. Yes, pigs have coarse hair that is clipped short to make them look more appealing to pig buyers.
My husband and Claude’ spent the week leading up to the sale giving 125 pig haircuts. The morning of the auction, a crew of farmers came over to load five trailers full of pigs to head to the Preble County Fairgrounds. Once they arrived, my husband, kids, nephews and other 4-H members washed all 125 pigs.
Washing a pig is kind of like washing a car–if the car was running in circles and pooping on your boots.
By afternoon, customers started arriving to check out the pigs and make notes on which ones they want to bid on. I arrived about two hours before the sale to set up my 20 year-old laptop and dot matrix printer that I use, along with a great team of family and friends, to clerk the sale. We give out buyers numbers and take the money as people cash out.
We hire an auctioneer, although, my son is getting pretty good at selling pigs to his brother in the play room.
The sale was a huge success. We sold pigs for $100 to $1,000 each.
Unbelievably, selling 125 pigs didn’t really make a dent in the number of pigs we have here on the farm. My husband still has all the sows (mothers) that had these little pigs. Once we see how they did at the pig shows this summer and fall, it will be time to start this process over again and the man who starts his Christmas shopping on December 21 will plan ahead for yet another spring sale.