Hard work will finally end in reward for seven Shady Spring High School students participating March 20 in the Ham, Bacon and Egg Show.

Sponsored through the Shady Spring Future Farmers of America chapter, the auction is part of a class that students participate in throughout the summer. According to agriculture instructor James May, students buy a young pig early in the summer and raise it until it reaches a weight of 240 pounds. Students then send the pig to the slaughterhouse. Afterward, May said, the students get the opportunity to process and cure the meat.

“Shady has a licensed meat establishment,” he said. “We don’t do the killings, but we process it. This includes old-fashioned and country cured hams. The curing will take up to three months.”

After this process comes the auction. Student participation is down this year, according to May.

“Compared to last year, our numbers are down,” May said. “This year, I imagine us having only 28 pieces of meat compared to our normal 48 pieces.”

Normally, May said, the school cafeteria is packed with parents, family members and 25 to 35 businesses. Students solicit businesses for bids earlier in the year, and according to May, both can benefit.

“It’s win-win for businesses and the kids,” he said. “The kids get their reward of money and the business gets a tax write-off. Other than that, they do manage to get quite a few bids from different parts of the community.”

The prices of the ham and bacon range from $7.50 to $30 a pound. An average bid will run $15 per pound, May said. For eggs, May estimates the grand champion will receive from $50 to $100.

“This year, I would say our lowest will go for about $10 a pound and our highest will be around $15,” he said. “Last year hit an all-time high for eggs. The grand champion received $250 for a dozen.”

May said this will not be the only reward students will take away, however.

“They get the experience of raising a small pig all the way up to the processing,” he said. “Since this lasts through the summer, they learn the value of hard work.”

Viewing will be at 6:30 p.m. and the auction will be at 7 p.m.

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