Seth Keplinger, a Springfield resident and owner of Keplinger Farms, has bred pigs for nearly 13 years.
He has been around pigs his whole life. His father raised commercial sows until Seth was five, and he participated in 4H for 10 years when he was a kid.
This week four of the top five pigs at the Market Hog Clark County Junior Show came from his farm.
It feels “very humbling…especially coming from Clark County,” he said.
Keplinger, 32, started five years ago raising just nine sows, which was “more like a hobby then,” he said. He now raises 70 at a time.
Keplinger also advises show participants on preparing their pigs for presentation, including diet and grooming, he said.
“There are a lot of good pigs. It comes down to the kids and parents and how much work they want to put into it,” Keplinger said.
Pigs need a clean environment, plenty of exercise, and a diet that best suits the individual animal, Keplinger said.
The kids explained what they do to get their pigs ready.
“There are no days off,” said Evan Henry, 14, the Grand Champion Overall. “You have to work hard and get them out every day.”
“I would say just walk them and wash them every day,” said Kaeden Harris, 10, who placed fourth overall.
Trainers should take their pigs outside for at least 15 minutes, walk and wash them twice a day every day, and feed them a proper diet up until fair time, said Eli Keplinger, 12, Keplinger’s son.
“I would advise other people to get with a breeder and figure out what to feed,” Eli said. He was awarded Reserve Grand Champion Overall.
Pigs also require hair conditioner and brushing to train their skin, said Kendall Bishop, 9, who placed third overall.
“Seth has been a godsend for all of us,” said Jason Bishop, Kendall’s father. “We’re very fortunate (to have) a lot of great breeders in this county.”
Keplinger said that the secret to his success are the families he works with.
“If I didn’t have the families that I have, I wouldn’t have the success that I have,” Keplinger said. “I feel like I’ve probably got some of the best families in this county and in the state of Ohio.”