FFA and 4-H swine-project exhibitors at the Dodge County Fair raised enough money in the last eight months to purchase new pig pens for half the swine barn at the fairgrounds. Meat-animal project members met on Saturday morning, Aug. 5, to begin installation.

“The old pens were rotting off at ground level,” commented fundraising co-chair, Eric Salmi. “However, we were able to salvage the back of all the old pens, because they were anchored to the top of the concrete.” He went on to add, “The old pens on the west side of the barn are ripped out, already, and today, our goal is to get the remaining back panels painted and the pig show ring painted. Then we’ll install the new gates, which were designed to hook to the old pen parts we salvaged. We want people to see the difference from the new west side of the barn compared to the old east side.”

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The Meat Animal Sale Livestock committee is the driving force behind this project, and fundraising continues with hopes of replacing the east side for 2018. “Our goal is to get trivia night back, again, next year,” added Salmi. The March, 2017, trivia-night fundraiser raised more than $15,000. “We’ve also started another giving opportunity. A new pen has a price tag of $450. Those interested can purchase a pen in honor of someone. Next year we’ll have a plaque with all the sponsor names.”

Although they’re aged, the old hog pens are for sale; they could be used for hogs, lambs, goats, or a special creative project. “Money from selling the old pens will go toward buying new pens for the east side of the barn.”

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Those interested in making a donation toward purchasing the remaining pig pens can e-mail Salmi at [email protected].

The Dodge County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 16-20, 2017.

Written by Dori Lichty — farm wife, 4-H Mom, and full-time communicator