Local kids try their hand at raising livestock
Apr. 04, 2013 @ 02:54 PM

Someday, Gray Palmer might raise the food that rides from your plate to your palate.

Right now, though, the 10-year-old Pathways Elementary School student from Hurdle Mills is preparing for his fourth year in the Central Piedmont Junior Livestock Show.

At the event, held April 10 and 11 on Orange Grove Road, Palmer’s going to show the pig he’s currently walking.

“My pig is named Bacon,” the boy says with a suspicious grin. He’s attentive to the details of the animal, mixing Bacon’s feed and cleaning his stall. Someday, Palmer wants to teach agriculture.

During his time with pigs, Palmer has learned a couple of things.

“The ham comes from the butt-end of the pig,” he says.

Also, he suggests, “a pig is much smarter than you think.”

During the upcoming livestock show, Palmer and other students from Orange and surrounding counties will display steers, hogs, lambs and goats, along with their knowledge of feeding, training, showmanship and growing livestock.

Nick Clayton, a 16-year-old student at Person County High School, is raising a feeder steer, two heifers and five pigs on his grandfather’s farm for the livestock show.

“The cows can be very temperamental,” Clayton says. “I would say that they are a work in progress.”

He feeds his animals every day after school at about 5 p.m. During the summer, he helps on the farm.

Clayton wants to be a firefighter like his father, who works at Durham’s Station No. 8. But he still ponders agriculture of the future.

“The future of farming will look nothing like it does now,” he says. “There will be a time when a farmer can plant a field by computer and not ever have to ride a tractor.”

The livestock show, now in its 68th year, is open to contestants ages 5-18 from Orange, Durham, Person, Chatham, Alamance, Granville, Guilford, Wake, Caswell and Randolph counties. For information, visit


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