The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC) partnered with Zeeland Farm Services, Inc. to purchase the fifth-place overall market hog at the 2013 Michigan Livestock Expo (MLE) "Sale-abration."
The 269-pound champion crossbred gilt and spotlight market hog was exhibited by Lauren Wildt of Homer. Lauren, the daughter of Doug and Shelly Wildt, is a 2013 graduate of Jackson Christian High School. She plans to attend Jackson Community College for her general education classes before transferring to Michigan State University, where she plans to double major in animal science and agribusiness management. "I'd be happy doing anything in the agricultural industry, whether it be scouting fields or anything to do with animal ag," Lauren says. "My participation in livestock shows like MLE has given me a passion for this industry and has shown me what I want the rest of my life to look like."
Like many youth livestock exhibitors, Lauren plans to invest the profits from her sale entry back into her livestock projects and to further her education. In compliance with MLE rules, spotlight hog exhibitors may keep $2,000 from the sale of their animal, while the remainder is applied to the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund (MYSLF) to benefit college-bound livestock exhibitors.
Beyond the economic incentives, livestock shows are an enjoyable family activity for the Wildts. Along with their parents, Lauren and her younger sister Morgan travel extensively during the show season in order to exhibit throughout the states of Michigan and Ohio. That's no small feat for the fourth-generation farm family; in addition to their market hog projects, the family's farm includes a dairy and 4,000 acres of crops, comprised of corn, soybeans and wheat.
According to the 2012 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service report, ninety-eight percent of the soybean meal produced annually in Michigan is consumed in livestock feed, with hogs dominating that usage at nearly forty percent.
"As the livestock industry is our largest consumer of soybean meal, and farm youth are the future of agriculture, Michigan's soybean farmers want to support both groups that are so important to our industry," says MSPC Executive Director Gail Frahm, "In fact, over 430,000 tons of soybean meal are consumed by Michigan's livestock annually." Gail represented the MSPC at the Sale-abration and preceding reception, which hosted industry leaders and representatives of all facets of Michigan agriculture.
For more information about the MSPC, contact us at 989.652.3294 or visit us on the web at www.michigansoybean.org