FFA students prepare for Ham, Bacon, & Egg sale

By Keilei Christian & Mya Monroy, President & Secretary of Greenbrier East FFA

The first Ham, Bacon, and Egg (HBE) Show and Sale in the Greenbrier Valley District of FFA began in 1941. Eighty-three years later, the sale continues and honors our young agriculturists every year. Producing approximately $72,832 last year, HBE plays a very important part in the lives of our FFA members here at Greenbrier East High School and in FFA chapters all across the state. Since the sale began, 4H programs and members have also been invited to join. Processed by those members of FFA and 4H, 80 to 120 hams and bacons are sold every year. 

The journey in preparing your hog for market can be quite tedious. Between January and March, a year prior to the sale, each participating student obtains their market hog. Some purchase their hogs already weaned, while others even farrow their own piglets. Each student is supervised throughout the process either by their agricultural educator, like our own Emily Dunkle, or an extension agent, such as Greenbrier County’s Josh Peplowski. Each of our members work really hard to produce a hog of good weight and quality. When it comes time to slaughter, the hogs are split into two different groups according to weight since a singular group would be far too large to manage all at one time. Another reason for the split is to give two extra weeks for light-weight hogs to put on more weight. 

After slaughtering, Greenbrier County students take their hams and bacons to the meathouse at GEHS where they are soon salt cured. To begin, hams are weighed delicately and an allotted amount of salt is given to each student in order to cure them. Curing the meat with salt allows the product to become safe to consume as well as shelf-stable. As students, we trim, cure, dry, and finish both our hams and bacons. After months of hard work, consistency, and dedication, we are finally able to sell our products at either the WV state show and sale at Cedar Lakes Conference Center on March 11th, 2024 or the regional show and sale at the state fairgrounds on March 15th, 2024. 

Many thanks go out to our local businesses that purchase our products and support us in every way possible. 

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