Young Handlers in the Pig Ring – The Future of Farming

Anyone with children at school will know how difficult it is these days to take them out during term time and obviously, there are times in the school calendar that your children mustn’t miss. However, most shows fall in the school week and persuading the head teacher showing is a worth while day off isn’t easy.

John has a number of grand children who all spend time at the farm and help with the preparation of the show pigs. A great deal of work goes into washing and training the pigs before each show and therefore a great deal of dedication is needed. On show day an early start is required to clean out the pens, walk the pigs and then prepare for the class. Handlers need to be smart and make sure they have all their kit with them. It certainly isn’t a days holiday.

Taking a pig out into the ring in front of a large crowd can be quite daunting and it is really good for giving the children confidence. The British Pig Association has an active young members club and they organise activities at the shows to teach the children more about their traditional and modern pig breeds.

Where will our agricultural shows be in the future if our children are not encouraged to embrace their farming history and tradition? Is having a day off to show pigs less important than having a day off to play the piano at a national music festival?

Children learn so much from showing; being part of a team, keeping time, an eye for detail, stockmanship, responsibility, health and safety, being a good loser, how to improve, meeting people, seeing new places, making friends and much more. Showing is a shop window for our animals and helps promote traditional and rare breeds and educate the public about animal welfare and where their food comes from.

Recently, we had a family on one of our courses whose son then came to the shows with us. He was having a dip in confidence at school but getting out in the ring with the pigs had given him boost. That is the power of pigs!

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