Boyd family gearing up for annual pig sale

EVART — When Jacob Boyd wanted to show pigs in 4-H as a 7 year old, his parents were happy to help him follow his dream. But they never expected their son’s ambition to grow into an annual family project impacting 4-Hers around the state. For the fourth year in a row, Scot and Nikki Boyd and their sons, Jacob, now 12, and Wyatt, 10, will host the annual Boyd Show Pig Sale on April 6. After breeding their production herd of 23 sows and a boar, the Evart family is gearing up for their largest sale ever, offering around 200 show pigs for purchase at their farm, located at 1902 100th Ave. in Evart. “This thing has really grown,” Scot said, of the annual sale. “It got bigger than we ever expected it would.” Stemming from Jacob’s interest in 4-H, the Boyds held their first sale in 2010 after visiting different sales and auctions around the state. “Our first year it was pretty small scale. We sold one litter,” Nikki said. “The second year we ended up with just under 50 pigs. Last year we had 103.” As the sale increased and bidders began overflowing the sale barn, the family needed to find a new venue for the expanding show. They considered renting a facility for the annual auction but wanted to keep the show on their property. “It’s a family business. We like having the people here. It’s more homey,” Scot said. “You invite people once a year to your farm, and when they see your things are kept and cared for, you hope that sets an example of what your animals are going to be like.” To make room for additional guests, the family built a heated, 6,000-square foot sale building that doubles as a warehouse for the Boyd’s excavation business. For the second year in a row, the family will invite folks from the agricultural community to the building for the sale. Viewing will begin at 1 p.m. and the auction will start at 3 p.m. “We’ve been telling people that we will have 150 (pigs), but we have 126 already and I have 10 litters left,” Nikki said last Wednesday. “We’ve been averaging nine pigs (per litter).” Last year, the Boyds borrowed bleachers from SpringHill Camps to offer seating for 175. Some bidders still were left standing. This year, bleachers will be available for at least 250 people. Advertising by word-of-mouth and the Internet, the Boyds are expecting a higher turnout than ever. Show pigs will sell for an average of $150 at the sale, though Scot said many award-winning pigs have gone for as little as $110. Animals for sale will have been born from the end of December through mid-March and be around six months old in time for the summer county fairs. “That covers all the shows in Michigan from June through September,” Nikki said. “We try and spread them all out so we have a selection for all the kids in the state, rather than just the kids at our fairs.” Along with the auction, the sale also will include a free catered lunch, free educational material from the Pork Checkoff, displays and activities for young children. In past years, the sale has drawn bidders from as far as Cass County in southern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Though most people who attend the sale are 4-Hers, others are in the market for feeder pigs, pigs to breed, are FFA members or are interested in the process. “We’ve definitely drawn people from across the bridge. It’d be cool to have (one of our pigs) cross the state line this year,” Scot said. “I want to see one (go to) Ohio or Indiana especially because there are more hogs in those areas so to get people to come here for your sale says something about you.” While the family strives for excellence in breeding and raising their animals, the youngest Boyds are learning responsibility and valuable skills through the daily process of caring for the pigs. “I’ve learned how to take care of living animals,” Jacob said. “We get home from school, we go down to the barn and we get our bucket started and my mom fills up buckets of feed. We feed the pigs and we count them and heat check them — to see if they are ready to give birth — then we come back up here and we feed the sows in the barn.” Jacob said his favorite thing about showing pigs in 4-H is to be out in the ring and show them to people; Wyatt enjoys the same thing. After the last pig is sold at the annual show, life settles down for the Boyds before Jacob and Wyatt begin training their own pigs for the Osceola County fairs. “Once the sale is over, the boys have their fair pigs at home and we have them to take care of,” Scot said. “Chores are definitely lessened and lightened for a while. As soon as their fair pigs have a little growth on them, they start training them.” The Boyds plan to continue the show for years to come, improving genetics and meeting changing demands each year. For more information on Boyd Show Pigs, visit
www.boydshowpig.com
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