|Posted by Afton Blight on May 20, 2013 at 10:30 PM|
The pigs are now at home and enjoying the nice spring weather. Each of the six pigs under Kaleb and Kelsie's care has a name, they include: Big Mama, Oreo, Marshmallow Puff, Masked Bandit 1, Masked Bandit 2, and No Name. The pigs have fresh water at all times and all-they-can-eat feed plus a few graham crackers for a treat, which they love (especially Big Mama)!
Once a month all the Swine Club members meet to discuss how to care for their animals, what to look for in a quality show pig, and how to prepare for the competition. May's meeting was focused around Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) certification. Each Swine Club 4-H'er is required to be PQA Plus certified in order to show a pig in the Calhoun County Fair. The PQA program was first developed in 1989 as a pork producer education session with the goal of reducing the risk of animal health product residues in the meat. The program became a success by measurably reducing the violative residues in pork and is continually updated and taught to pig farmers throughout the United States.
Due to the increasing concern not only for the quality and safety of food but also for the well-being of the animal, the PQA Plus program evolved. This is the current program that is being taught. It includes material on animal health product safety, on-farm animal well-being, and proper animal handling among other things. Many meat packing plants require pork suppliers to obtain the PQA Plus certification before their animals can enter the food chain. Kelsie and Kaleb along with the rest of us at Blight Farms are all certified!