For the Wilson family of New Freedom, this year’s supreme champion bred gilt at the Pennsylvania Farm Show was an honor three generations in the making.
“It’s proof of hard work,” said Russ Wilson, whose son, Everett, showed the competition’s top pregnant female.
Russ has great memories from his youth of working in the pig barn with his brothers, Rick and Randy, and their father, Steve. Russ is glad his son is now part of the tradition.
Most 11-year-olds don’t get the chance to spend every day with their grandfather doing something they love. “It’s really going to mean more down the road to him,” Russ said.
The supreme champion, WFF9 Kidwell 15-5, was the grand champion in the up-and-coming Hereford breed.
The pigs — named for their coloration similarity to Hereford cattle — perform well in both pasture and confinement systems.
The Livestock Conservancy, which promotes rare breeds, says Herefords make good 4-H projects because they combine market conformation with an attractive appearance.
That was certainly the case with the Wilsons’ pig.
“She was just kind of balanced the whole way through and still looked like a bred female should,” Russ said.
The family had previously entered the supreme champ in the Maryland State Fair, York Fair and Keystone International Livestock Exposition.
Until the Farm Show, she always seemed to come in second to her sister, which was named reserve champion in Harrisburg.
“Those two sisters have done well for us,” Russ said.
In the Farm Show bred gilt sale, Russ was glad to see the supreme champion sell to a young Ohio 4-H’er who is building his own Hereford herd.
The Wilsons have been competing at the Farm Show on and off since at least the 1980s.
This was their first year at the show in about five years. Concerns about porcine epidemic diarrhea virus had kept them away.
“I wasn’t going to put our herd at risk, or any potential buyers,” Wilson said.
The Wilsons couldn’t have had a better return, and Everett got a boost for his youth show career.
The Wilsons run about 35 sows and sell show pigs, breeding stock and market stock. In addition to raising Herefords, the family has delved into Mangalitsa and Mulefoot genetics.