Noah Janzing, age 17, has been selected this year to raise the San Benito County Heritage Hog in an effort to raise money for Bolado Park.
The Heritage Hog, donated by local business McAbee Feed, rakes in tens of thousands in dollars annually at the San Benito County Fair. The hog has raised more money each year, from $57.000 in 2013, to almost $85.000 in 2015, according to Donnette Silva Carter, the chief executive officer and fair manager. Janzing hopes that this year will follow that ascending pattern.
“I’m definitely going to try my hardest to succeed that goal,” he said.
It was this passion for the agricultural community that Janzing feels may have helped him acquire his position.
“I am confident that he is going to do well,” said Carter. “The youth have done very well raising the animals [for the Heritage Foundation].”
Before high school, Janzing was not involved in the agricultural community and planned on joining the military after he graduated. It was during his sophomore year at San Benito High School that his agriculture advisor, Myndi Krafft, exposed him to the rich ag heritage of San Benito County. She has since become a role model for Janzing.
Janzing joined the Future Farmers of America club at SBHS, and is this year’s sentinel on the leadership team. He recruits new members and shares with students about FFA. He is also a new member of the Bolado Park Event Center Youth Ambassadors.
As his patriarchal name insinuates, Noah is a natural with animals. He began taking care of this year’s hog, named Kiwi, at the end of May. He said he has enjoyed his duties of feeding, brushing, walking, and socializing with her. The hog is kept at San Benito High’s barn.
Kiwi is so named because of her reddish-brown short hair. This is signature of the Duroc breed, and gives her the appearance of the fuzzy kiwi fruit.
“She really stands out,” Janzing told BenitoLink, as he glanced around the barn at the other pink pigs.
He hopes to double Kiwi’s weight by the start of the San Benito County Fair in early October.
“The definite goal is to get to 275 (pounds); everyone’s goal is to get to 270,” he said. Right now, Kiwi is only 120 pounds, but Janzing is confident they can get her weight up in time for the fair.
With the prestige of taking care of the Heritage Hog comes a $1,000 scholarship to be put toward the winner’s school of choice.
“Even without the scholarship, I’d be happy to have the experience,” Janzing said. He plans on attending Colorado State University, majoring in animal science and genetics.
As the recipient of the scholarship and caretaker of the hog, Janzing will also be the spokesman for several upcoming gatherings for the Heritage Foundation. He said he is excited to speak to school clubs, at Future Farmers of America and Rotary Club gatherings, and at the San Benito County Fair.
“I will give the low-down on what the Heritage Foundation is and how they can support us,” he said.
Certificates are available for purchase to help support the Heritage Foundation. The money goes to memberships, scholarships, donations, and buying a part of the Heritage Hog.
“Certificates are definitely a way for kids to help the foundation,” said Janzing.
The money also goes toward improving the Bolado Park fairgrounds, which Janzing has seen already at work. He listed several improvements, including new sand in the arenas and an improved drainage system.
Carter explained that money raised from the Heritage Hog is put into the general Heritage fund. It is then allocated to various projects to improve the 165 acres of Bolado Park. The renovations of the Riverside Room and enlargement of the parking lot are some of the recent improvements.
Carter encourages the community to become members of the Heritage Foundation. In addition to supporting the effort to preserve the agricultural legacy of San Benito County, members enjoy benefits such as complimentary meals and drinks at the San Benito Fair.
Each year, Carter said, she is humbled by San Benito County’s support of the Foundation, evidenced by the amount of funds raised by the Heritage Hog effort.
“The generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me,” she said.