Feeling just ‘Swine’!

Walton exhibitor shows pigs at the DelCo Fair

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WALTON - Sam Conklin, Walton, is well-known at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. He was raised by his parents Beth and Don on Sajobe Farm with his brothers, Jon and Ben.

When Sam was 10 years old, he started showing livestock at the Delaware County Fair in showmanship classes, and quickly took a liking to it, except when it came to sheep. “Pigs behave better,” Sam said. Bending to control sheep is tiring, he said. “I think we should get taller sheep.” Aside from sheep, Conklin could not name anything he did not like about showing livestock. 

Sam now enjoys showing sows - female hogs - and their litters. He has won an abundance of ribbons and trophies that decorate the Conklin home.

Exhibiting animals at the fair is just one part of his involvement with livestock. In the barn is where he is truly involved, his father said. Sam helps raise the pigs, supplying newborns with a heat lamp to keep their body temperature between 90 to 95 degrees, as they cannot regulate it themselves until they are a week old. “I put two bags of shavings in each pen, and we ear notch ‘em,” Sam said of the piglets. The piglets are ear-notched to indicate the litter number and birth order of each piglet. The right ear notches identify the litter number, and the left ear notches indicate the individual number of the piglet. Judges at the Delaware County Fair compare the ear notches to the registration papers, so notches must be accurate.   

The Conklins do as many of their own veterinary procedures as possible, including castrations, births, and shots, to save a little extra cash. “Sometimes we have pig castration parties,” Sam and his father said with a smile. 

The Conklins livelihood is the farm they live in, they all agreed, but believe it could not be done without overwhelming and continuous community support. “I start to get teary if I talk about it,” Beth said. Community members always make a point to include Conklin in community events, his parents said, including announcing the demolition derby at the Delaware County Fair, making a special role for him in the annual Christmas show in Walton, and he was invited to announce the soapbox derby in Delhi on July 29.    

“Fair season is like, my season!” Sam said, filled with excitement for the 2022 Delaware County Fair where he will once again announce the demolition derby, and show his family’s pigs. 

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