RACHEL — A buyer offered $22.23 a pound on Hunter Tennant’s 22-pound Grand Champion ham, then donated the ham to Marion County Technical Center FFA Club for resale.
That’s how many Friday night auctions went on at the 21st Annual Francis Marion Ham, Bacon and Egg Show, where students got a chance to reap the rewards of their hard work for most of of the school year.
The auction was held at the Marion County Technical Center and John Postlethwait, agricultural science teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor for the school, said attendance and product production were excellent this year.
“Overall I’m happy with the quality of the produce and I think we’ve put in some good quality cuts of meat that will serve shoppers well,” Postlethwait said. “It’s all the work of the students. I provide the knowledge and the know-how and they do the work.
Some students do all the farming on school grounds, where they can rent a patch in the barn for their animals, others, like Hunter, bring their animals home to their own farm.
Hunter, a ninth grader at North Marion High, grew up learning to raise animals and it brought in about $800 Friday night. Hunter had both the grand champion’s ham and bacon. The ham was sold for $500 and the bacon for $300.
Hunter said his parents and grandparents helped him a lot in raising his pig well and he was quite surprised to win the award in both categories. It’s not often that both prizes are won by the same pig.
“At first I didn’t know what to think, I walked in one day and [Postlethwait] said, “You are a great champion,” Hunter said. “Looks like I’m pretty lucky here.”
Hunter said he was going to use the money from his sales to fix his truck when he got his driver’s license.
The grand champion eggs belonged to Andrew Lyle, who graduated from North Marion in 2021 and is now a freshman at Ohio State University Agriculture Technical Institute studying animal science.
It takes a lot of animal science to get eggs as beautiful as Andrew’s Dozen sold for just over $1,000 on Friday night. Ensuring that the shells are smooth, the yolk is well placed, and the weight is neither too much nor too small are all factors to consider when raising grand champion eggs.
Andrew said his biggest help was his grandfather, who grew up raising farm animals and passed the art on to his grandson. His grandfather, David Lee, was the final bidder on the eggs.
Andrew said he plans to use the money to help pay for his college.
“If done this show for the past few years. I like to do it over and over again because it’s exciting,” Andrew said. “I also like to compete in the state competition and two years ago I was booked there two years ago.”
Postlethwait said several of his students are considering submitting products to the state competition.
The reserve winners from Friday’s contest were Nicole Efaw, a ninth grader at NMHS, who had award-winning bacon and eggs and Allyson Postlethwait, an eleventh-grade student at NMHS, who also had an award-winning ham.