Brothers team up for annual Junior Livestock Show and Sale
By Gary Popp
Published in News on April 26, 2011 1:46 PM
News-Argus/MICHAEL K. DAKOTA
Cole Jacobs, 12, prepares his hog for the annual Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale. He and his brother, Dylan, will be showing their animals Thursday morning. Goats and calves will be shown Wednesday evening. Events start Wednesday at 11 a.m. with a livestock judging clinic. The event ends Thursday evening with awards and sale.
Brothers Dylan and Cole Jacobs have more than 20 years experience showing animals in the Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale, which makes the boys veterans at the ripe ages of 18 and 12, respectively.
Older brother Dylan has participated in the annual event since he was four years old. Cole followed in big brother's footsteps at age 5.
While the boys have shown goats in the past, this year each of the boys will show Yorkshire hogs at the event, which will take place Wednesday and Thursday at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. It is sponsored by the Wayne County Livestock Development Association.
The boys tend to their animals on the 216-acre D&M Farms that is named after their parents David and Mary-Charles Jacobs.
The family lives on a plot of land on N.C. 55 in Mount Olive that has been in their family for 10 generations, said the boys' mother, Mary-Charles Jacobs.
The family raises about 2,600 hogs in 21-week cycles throughout the year in their four hog houses
The show and sale, which is open to youth 5-19 years old, is designed not only to provide kids with a recreational activity, it also exposes younger generations to agriculture lifestyles.
Through participating in the show and sale the junior contestants to participate in education workshops that teach skills related to raising livestock and preparing their animals for the show.
Dylan says most of what he knows about livestock comes from the workshops and preparing his animals for the show and sale.
"I have learned responsibility, work ethic and how to manage my money well," Dylan said.
Dylan said the workshops have taught him about animal vaccinations, what to do if a hog gets sick, why hogs have ear notches and why hogs have litter numbers.
Dylan, who will be graduating high school in May, received a scholarship from the Wayne County Livestock Development Association, which he received from participating in the show and sale.
"Most importantly, I have learned responsibility. You learn how to care for something on your own. Most kids that haven't done it don't know what responsibility is."
Dylan has a passion for agriculture that makes him a apt student of agriculture.
"I enjoy livestock, especially the pork industry part of it. That is why I do hogs and not goats now. Also, it looks good on my college resume to be active in the county's livestock development association," Dylan said.
Dylan said his heritage adds to his eagerness to learn about livestock.
"I love working on a hog farm," Dylan said. "It is a family tradition. That is how we own everything we have is because of hogs.
This will be Dylan's last year of participating in the show and sale. And he is looking forward to the competition.
"I am a competitor. I love winning, even in showing. In showmanship, I try my best to get first place all the time."
Cole said he has also learned about livestock in his years as a participant in the event.
"You learn what is a hog-house hog and what is another hog, what a meat product is, and parts of the hog," Cole said.
Cole said showing the hogs comes natural to him and that he has fun doing it.
"I am around hogs 24/7 with the hog houses," Cole said.
The fifth-grader said the tough parts of preparing for the show and sale are the early morning and the feedings.
"Waking up and trying to feed the hogs three times a day," Cole said. "Keeping the water clean and keeping the feeding pans in order and separate."
Cole said he and Jacob usually don't have names for their animals, but this year they have considered Bacon, Sausage, and Ham for their show hogs.
Cole said his brother is a good mentor.
"Really, he has taught me most of the stuff I know," he said.
Mrs. Jacobs said her boys learn life skills by participating in the show and sale.
"It is a lot of responsibility," Mrs. Jacobs said. "The have to manage their own money and their own feed. They learn accountability."
She added that it is the boys jobs on the farm to care for the animals they show.
"The boys work out their own schedules. (Dylan) comes out here every morning and feeds before his school bus comes. In the evening they come out here and do different stuff together."
The participants also have an opportunity to gain some money by the sell of their animals at the end of the event.
"The money that they receive from the Show and Sale they turn around and buy their own animals and the feed. They have their own savings accounts. If they want something throughout the year they work out of their own accounts that they have saved up," Mrs. Jacobs said.
Event organizer and livestock Extension Agent Eileen Coite said putting on the show and sale requires a group effort and nearly five months of planning.
"It takes a lot of volunteers. I have an advisory committee that has been wonderful," Mrs. Coite said. "It also requires strong parental support. Most of the work is done at home."
Mrs. Coite said the young participants also put forth a great effort.
"The kids have been working hard for at least two and one-half months. It is a tremendous amount of work that they put into it," Mrs. Coite said.
Mrs. Coite also thanked the community and the sponsorship of local businesses that keeps the event, now in its 63rd year, coming back year after year.
"I think part of it is the strong roots of agriculture in Wayne County. It is a tradition we want to keep alive."