Selling a pig in the Kentucky State Fair Sale of Champions is the dream of every 4-H and FFA youth showman. Each year, two lucky showmen find themselves in the New Market Hall sale arena as the bids roll in on their hogs. The Kentucky Pork Producers has been a buyer of the Grand Champion Market Hog for many years. This article will highlight the Grand Champion exhibitor and their experience as a swine showman.
Justin Arnett took home top honors in the 2015 Kentucky State Fair Junior Market Hog show, exhibiting the Grand Champion Market Hog which sold for $12,500 to the Kentucky Pork Producers Association, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Hilton Garden Inn, Monsanto, Green Hill Productions, Paris Stockyards and Darrel Billings.
Arnett, 15, is a member of the Montgomery County FFA Chapter and has been showing pigs since he was nine years old. His 275 pound crossbred gilt named “Hallie” was bred by Stohlquist Showpigs in Poplar Grove, Ill.
Arnett shows both pigs and cattle and says his favorite thing about showing livestock is working with his animals every day.
“Each of the pigs have their own personality and I get really attached to the animals that my brothers and I show,” Arnett says. “I think you have to work with the animals enough that they trust you, so they perform better in the show ring.”
Arnett says selling his pig in the Sale of Champions made him very proud.
“It takes a lot of hard work every day to get an animal to the Sale of Champions. My pig had changed and improved so much through the show season and my whole family had worked so hard with all of our pigs. I was very proud to stand in the ring and display such a great market hog, especially with my family there with me. “
When it comes to future plans, Arnett feels certain that he’ll make a career in the agriculture industry. He plans to pursue an agriculture degree in college and credits showing livestock with exposing him to many different careers in agriculture.
“Showing pigs has allowed me to meet a lot of experts in the swine industry and from them I have gained knowledge about feed products, showmanship techniques, and breeding programs. My experience showing animals has helped me to improve the quality of animals I raise and show, but hopefully it may lead to a future in agriculture,” Arnett said.
Arnett was eager to express his thanks to the buyers of his Grand Champion Market Hog and emphasized that their donation doesn’t just support him but all of the swine exhibitors.
“The purchase price of my animal will help me invest in better animals to show next year. Since some of the money is divided with class winners, it also helps more than just the grand and reserve winners. By supporting the sale of champions you have helped many kids who love showing animals continue to do what they love.”
Justin is the son of Jeff and Melissa Arnett of Mount Sterling. His FFA advisors are Alton Stull, Jeff Arnett, Tim Adams and Shelby Blevins.