BOZEMAN — Buyers for Montana State University’s Culinary Services will begin fanning out across the state this week to purchase pigs at 4-H auctions that will end up on the plates of college students.

Last year, MSU purchased 42 pigs from 4-H’ers at eight county fairs held across the state from Plentywood to Hamilton, which accounted for 5,000 pounds of pork used in the university’s two dining halls. This year, MSU expects to purchase about 60 pigs at 12 fairs across Montana.

“We’re committed to buying as much Montana food as we can, and there is nothing more Montanan than livestock raised by a 4-H kid,” said Rich Huffman, MSU Culinary Services director.

This year, MSU buyers plan to visit the following fairs on the following dates:

  • Lewis and Clark County Fair, Helena, July 27
  • Carbon County Fair, Red Lodge, July 27
  • Sheridan County Fair, Plentywood, July 27
  • Butte-Silver Bow County Fair, Butte, Aug. 1
  • Richland County Fair, Sidney, Aug. 2
  • Western Montana Fair, Missoula, Aug. 10
  • Madison County Fair, Twin Bridges, Aug. 10
  • Northwest Montana Fair, Kalispell, Aug. 17
  • Ravalli County Fair, Hamilton, Aug. 31
  • Beaverhead County Fair, Dillon, Aug. 31
  • Sanders County Fair, Plains, Sept. 1

“We so enjoy meeting the 4-H youth; their enthusiasm and professionalism stands out,” Huffman said. “They often approach us before the auction with a firm handshake and introduction, tell us all about raising their pig, how much they feed it each day, how much it weighs and how well it was judged. And, to a person, they always thank us afterwards, and often send us a nice thank you note and picture of their hog. These individuals are our future, and we know we’re in good hands!”

Each year, MSU Culinary Services purchases approximately $2 million in local food, Huffman said, which amounts to about 25% of its total food purchases. That includes purchases of more than 60 MSU lambs and more than 25 steers from the MSU College of Agriculture’s Steer-A-Year student program.

Culinary Services provides more than 12,000 meals in its dining facilities each day during the academic year. More information is available at montana.edu/culinaryservices/.

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Montana State University 

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