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Lamoni FFA Welcomes A New Addition to Our FFA Family

     The Lamoni FFA members have formed new, educational, and engaging committees within their chapter. One of those committees is the Farrowing Team, which consists of Brenna Pierce, Chloe Boyce, Javin Stevenson, Hagen Phelps, Audrey Lloyd, Ashleigh Gerke, Karlee Hamaker, Dawson Hensley, Janessa Starnes, Addy Lindgren, Kameryn Phelps, Hailey Burton, Jaymie Tull, Kelly Lloyd, Emaleigh Pierschbacher, Cody Jones, Creyton Ogier, Ambrose Savage, Ryan Reed, Cooper Horton, Landon Lindgren, Kirra Edwards, Lynn Eakes, Karsyn Cray, Brady Lester, Emma Hill, Kelan Stevenson, and Bud Boyce. A handful of members are needed as being a part of this team requires you to take care of a live pig! That pig’s name is Nelly, and she is a sow that requires tons of care and attention!

     The Farrowing Project came about in 2019, when Lamoni and Central Decatur Community Schools received the USDA Farm to School Grant. With this grant, the 2 schools have developed several programs involving the high school, middle school and elementary students. The programs have begun the farrowing project, teaching about a crop every month, growing vegetables in raised beds, and a fresh fruit and vegetable program. The goals for all of these projects is to provide a local source of food products available to students, to serve students and families with fresh produce, to educate families on food nutrition, and develop a collaboration between the 2 schools and their communities.

     The Lamoni FFA members set out on their own mission to find a sow that could be used in the Farrowing Project for both schools. In contacting Cactus Farms, they were able to have a sow donated and much more! Cactus Farms donated a sow ready for her 2nd parity, she is a Yorkshire/Landrace cross, bred to a Duroc. Cactus Farms has also provided help with feed rations, where the members met with their farm nutritionist. They have provided assistance with delivering the sow and helped teach the members about raising pigs, processing and medications.

     Nelly, the sow donated by Cactus Farms, recently farrowed 15 healthy piglets, so looking after her requires a lot of responsibility. The duties of the Farrowing Team are to take care of the sow and her piglets, keep records, and of course, clean her trailer! Visiting the famed Nelly is not restricted to just Lamoni FFA members as the elementary and secondary students are also able to view the process of caring and raising pigs! However, the fun does not stop there! The Lamoni FFA is planning to place the pigs with a producer when they're weaned, and that producer will feed them to market weight. Once they reach market weight, the pigs will be taken to a USDA approved locker and the school lunch program will use the meat!

     Adding Nelly to our FFA family has provided us with much joy and many leadership opportunities. We are also increasing our knowledge of pigs, while giving back to the school and community at the same time! The Lamoni FFA gives a huge thank you to Cactus Farms for their participation in this awesome project!