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Ripon youth learns a lot about raising pigs

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Ripon youth learns a lot about raising pigs

Caleb Lagier of Ripon feeds his Crossbreed swine Spotty Head at San Joaquin AgFest on Friday.

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED June 21, 2014 1:15 a.m.

Caleb Lagier has learned more about swine in the two years of showing the livestock.

“Pigs do more than just oink,” he said at Friday’s San Joaquin AgFest Junior Show and Auction at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.  “They make all kinds of different noises, like scream, shout and even bark.”

Since February, the youngster from Ripon Unified’s Colony Oak School has been a regular at the Ripon High school farm. That’s where he spent time raising his Crossbreed swine he named “Spotty Head” for obvious reasons.

In the fall, Lagier will be in the sixth grade. He’s also hoping to have some extra pocket money based on the fruits of his labor in the form of his pig.

The auction at the fairgrounds will mark the conclusion of this first-ever event that kicked off Tuesday.

A member of the Ripon 4-H Club, Lagier became interested in livestock during a visit to the San Joaquin County Fair.

AgFest was put in place of the county fair. Officials of the fair decided, after struggling to make ends meet in recent years – this included dwindling attendance – to take a one-year hiatus with hopes of coming back strong for 2015.

They turned to volunteers to put together an event that’s reminiscent of an old fashion county fair but only with the emphasis on young people and, of course, agriculture.

“It’s kind of funny being here and it’s just (Future Farmers of America and 4-H members) and the animals,” said Lagier, who was once again feeding or fattening up Spotty Head.

That’s been his everyday chore – feeding his swine project twice daily.

The Crossbreed is at a whopping 249 pounds. Lagier indicated pigs in that class must weigh more than 215 but no more than 280.

He’s also careful not to become too attached to his livestock.

“You’ll see a lot of people who become sad or even cry during the auction,” Lagier said. “I think I’ll be OK – but I really won’t know until then.”


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