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Local 4-H member's hog earns state honor


October 31, 2019

Shana Neesvig

TOP HOG – Dallas Berman of the Whitepine Happy Workers won carcass quality state-level accolades with his blue-ribbon hog for 2019. Samie Helvey was the breeder of his hog, named Bacon.

The Sanders County Fair has come and gone, but the awards keep coming. For first-time swine project member Dallas Berman and breeder Samie Helvey, the Montana Symbol of Excellence program found their heavy-weight hog to have the second-best quality in the state. After rating out at the top of the carcass evaluations at the county level, Berman's and Helvey's results went on to the state level earning them these honors.

Berman's hog, "Bacon," was the prized gilt that has given him incentive to continue the 4-H project next year. "We bought the food from Dixon Feeds," said Berman. "And we fed them some apples." As far as exercising, Berman said he walked Bacon 30 to 45 minutes each day.

In all, 1,995 hogs were evaluated through carcass and ultrasound practices. Of these, 15 hogs received 2019 Top Hog honors at the state level. The top five hogs were recognized in three divisions; Light Carcass, Heavy Carcass and Ultrasound.

Since 1984, the Symbol of Excellence program has been honoring both Montana 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) swine project participants. Those who raised market hogs that rated at the top in live weight, hot carcass weight, back fat, loin area, marbling, color, wetness and firmness criteria were awarded.

"The unique partnership between Montana Pork Producers Council and Montana State University Extension provides a vast amount of data to individuals that range from a 4th grade student who sold a hog for the first time to a seasoned pork producer with 20 years of experience," said Anne Miller, Executive Director of Montana Pork Producers Council. "In each case, we hope the information collected and honors they receive are encouraging them to stay involved."


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