LINCOLN, Ill. (WCIA) — They are a perennial Grand Champion family at the Illinois State Fair’s Junior Barrow Show. We want you to meet the Bobell family from Lincoln in this Harvest Heritage report.
“We’ve been very lucky, to be there a couple times, so, Ella won the State Fair in 2018, and then Claire, our middle daughter, who’s 12, won the State Fair in 2019, and then Ella was back to win again in ’21,” said Ben Bobell.
What have the done to raise a grand champion hog?
“Lots of hard work,e very single day,” said Ella Bobell. “Walking him every day, washing him every day, feeding him the correct amount to make him present like this.”
Ella is a sophomore at Mt. Pulaski High School. Her father has become a prime supplier of champion hogs around the nation to youngsters just like daughters Ella and Claire. But these are definitely not market hogs.
“Our goal is 100% to make show pigs,” said Ben. “An so what we are doing is trying to make the highest quality pig that we can with the genetics available, and we try and sell and market those pigs to young 4-H and FFA members across the country. And what we are trying to do is help those kids have a very positive experience in 4-H and FFA.”
While Ben manages the breeding and genetics, wife Haylee–who is not a farm girl–cares for 80 sows when they are having pigs.
“Most of them are very calm, you will have a select few that will give you a little big of trouble sometimes, but they are pretty calm, yes, I think that’s why that is one of my jobs on the farm, I tend to be a little bit more patients with them, and let them do their thing and if they need help, then I am there to help them. But I don’t try to rush them along in the process,” said Haylee.
They are a young family, but already thinking about the future.
“Our girls love agriculture, but I don’t know where that fits,” said Ben. “I want them to be in agriculture in some facet, there’s a lot of different opportunities, to be in agriculture, if they want to come back to the family farm, we’d love it.”