Ham breaks record at meat, egg sale
By SHANE ARRINGTON
HUNTINGTON -- Zachary Call may only be 17 years old, but being a third-generation farmer means he has been in the farming business since before he could even remember.
That experience and ingrained knowledge served him well at the 26th annual Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale conducted Thursday at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington. Call smashed the record for highest-selling item when his grand champion ham was purchased by Andy Nelson, owner of Andy's Custom Meats, for $3,750.
"It feels good," Call said. "I'm always trying to set new boundaries for the other kids in the program. Farming runs in the family. My dad started when he was 17 years old, and he raised me in it -- it's all I've ever known."
This is not Call's first grand champion entry into the sale. Last year he entered the grand champion bacon and eggs. The bacon was purchased for $3,000 by M&G Polymers, the record for highest-selling grand champion bacon.
Not everyone entering the contest has the experience or farm-raising that Call has, said Thelma Stickler, board member for the Cabell Foundation for Agricultural Advancement Committee.
"We have kids here who live in Barboursville and Huntington," Stickler said. "Not all of them live on farms, so we expanded the competition to allow those without the space to raise animals to purchase them."
Stickler said those who purchased their animals still had to find the animal, the slaughter house and take part in the killing, cutting and curing of the meat. She said this experience helps the students learn all the ins and outs of where their food comes from.
Other top earners were Brooke Holley, whose grand champion bacon was purchased by Andy Nelson for $1,500 and Chelsea Smith, whose grand champion eggs were purchased by Putnam County Bank for $1,100.
The sale is designed to give 4-H and FFA members a better understanding of the business side of agriculture, improve their marketing skills and provide insight on meat slaughtering and preparation.
Stickler said the majority of money raised is put into college funds for sale participants.
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