Fair swine barn improves with 4-H project

 The volunteers gather outside the swine barn as the cement path way begins to dry.

4-H All Star project upgrades walkways to auction arena
The San Benito County Fairgrounds got a little safer for swine last weekend when Heather Pereira completed her 4-H All Star project.

Pereira, who has shown swine at the fair in addition to other projects, decided to add cement to the walkways from one of the swine holding areas to the show area. While one barn already has safe walkways installed, the second barn did not. The dirt path was covered with gravel, leading to an uneven surface for animals to walk along. Pereira’s mom mentioned that the swine often got dirty just after they’d been bathed for auction.

But more than that, Pereira was concerned about the trip hazard caused by the gravel walkway.

She said last year one of the students showing a pig had his pig trip and it got bruised.

“I felt bad for the kid because he couldn’t go through auction,” Pereira said.

She said the most challenging part of her project was figuring out how much the cement base rock would cost. To fund her project, she applied for a grant from the 4-H council. The All-Star projects are intended to have a lasting impact on the community and to benefit others beside members of 4-H. The swine barns are used by 4-H and FFA students showing animals at the fair, as well as during Farm Day each year.

Pereira coordinated volunteers from 4-H clubs across the county, including Cienega, Ausaymas, Paicines Clover, Santa Ana, Union and San Juan. She had more than 40 students volunteering with her as well as parent volunteers.

“We had to pick a date and make sure it was OK with the fairgrounds,” she said, making sure that there were no big events happening on the weekend select. “It was hard to get it because I had other priorities such as school.”

On the day of installation, the cement truck was running late. Pereira used the time to do icebreakers with the other 4-H members so that they could get to know each other.

“I think the project was a good choice,” she said. “It will be there for future generations and others. It was very successful.”

Now that her project is completed, Pereira said she is looking forward to attending 4-H All Star conferences where she can get to know new people.

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