MONONA COUNTY, Iowa (KCAU) – Monona County currently has more pigs entered into its county fair than most others in Iowa. Just nine years ago that was not the case.
“Pigs are my favorite animal, and I love getting dirty with the pigs,” said Joanna Koenag.
In Monona County, kids love their pigs.
“I would have never expected pigs to be such a hot item they’re messy, they’re stinky, but kids absolutely love them,” said Melissa Beermann, the Monona County Iowa State University Extension director.
In 2010, only one pig was entered in the Monona County fair. The Iowa State University Extension, in Monona County, did something about it.
“We decided to make a project for all kids all backgrounds, whether they were rural city kids to have the opportunity to learn about agriculture and learn about, specifically, swine,” said Beermann.
The ISU Extension started the Monona County Swine Project, a special pig farm designed to teach kids everything there is to know about raising and showing a pig.
“This program allows them to show an animal or pig if they really wanted to at the fair,” said Dylan Kuhoman, who was a student.
“We’ve taken one pig at the Monona County Fair to last year we had 96 pigs at the fair,” said Beermann.
The project also teaches the values of hard work and responsibility.
“You learn a lot of things and where the pigs are coming from and why we do what we do,” said Koenag.
The extension says while the growing number of pigs at the fair is exactly where it wants them to be, even more important is the growth and leadership experienced by the kids who take part.