On Saturday, April 17, Jerry Hatfield, District 9 Board of Trustee and Kathy Judkins, Deputy Director for Civic, Charitable & Government Affairs, purchased four pigs on behalf of the not-for-profit electric cooperative at the Lake County Fair.
Hundreds of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H students throughout Lake County enthusiastically participate in the fair’s animal shows. The students’ journey to raising an animal for these shows requires budgeting decisions, dietary needs, pre-show preparation and a host of other management skills. The day of the shows, students must dress professionally and demonstrate they can manage their animal during the showing process for potential buyers. The skills earned through this tedious but rewarding process prepares these students for successful careers as adults.
As buyers representing SECO, Hatfield and Judkins purchased a pig from G.R.I.T.S. 4-H Club weighing in at 278-pounds. SECO also purchased from Morgan Allen who showed a 282-pound pig for the Okahumpka 4-H Club. A third pig was purchased from Makenzie Dunn of Lake County Explorers 4-H Club. Her pig weighed in at 273 pounds. Makenzie is a sixth grader at The Villages Charter Schools. The fourth pig purchase of the evening was from the Altoona Eagles 4-H Club and shown by Shelby Modisette, a fifth grader at Altoona Eagle Elementary School. This is Modisette’s first year showing a pig. Her pig, named Little Man, weighed in at 260 pounds.
Hatfield stated, “Attending the fair on Saturday brought back fond memories of when I was a principal with Lake County Schools. I’m so proud I can continue to support these fine students as a Trustee on the SECO Energy Board. I know first-hand the positive difference FFA and 4-H organizations make on students’ personal development, management and leadership skills. The showing event is just a glimpse of the work these students really put into the success of their animal project.”
CEO Jim Duncan stated, “SECO continues to be a proud supporter of the youth 4-H and FFA educational programs in the counties we serve. Remaining attentive to one of our seven cooperative principles – Concern for Community – we will continue to seek opportunities to support educational projects that prepare students to join the workforce. In addition to this year’s livestock program support, in May SECO will award twelve $3,000 scholarships to high school seniors enrolling in a Florida institute of higher learning. Academic achievement, financial need and other factors are considered by the judges, but participation in 4-H or FFA gives students added points. Although the deadline to apply for 2018 was March 30, I encourage students to visit our website and look for next year’s opportunity to apply.”