STOCKTON - Some heartbroken Future Farmers of America in Stockton are learning a tough lesson. All their hard work didn't guarantee their pigs a spot at the upcoming auction Saturday.
Every year, many students head to their local fair hoping the livestock they've raised will be good enough to show at market. This year, 29 swine out of the 370 entered got turned away from the San Joaquin Ag Festival. Students said only two pigs didn't make it last year.
That has a lot of 4-H and FFA students up in arms. They've poured hundreds of dollars into their animals. Now, they worry about what to do with the pig who won't go to market.
"It's very hurtful to see," student Giianna Lagorio said. "These kids are out of money."
"My daughter is starting out," parent Kevin Lagorio said. "She did it with her own money."
"It's really not about the kids," Livestock Superintendent Jim Clark said. "It's about the industry standards set forth by consumers and packing houses."
The judge comes with big credentials and high standards. Some pigs were turned away for being a little too muscular, too fat or too old. Organizers said they stand by the judge's decisions.
"No. I don't think it's anything extraordinary. It's his opinion, his choice. On a different day, different judge, it could be different," Past National FFA Western Region Vice President Lyndsey Anderson said.
"That's unfortunate. That's the way it works," President of San Joaquin Ag Festival Tim Sunbury said. "Life isn't always what you dream it to be. It's tough work. But there are standards we have to go by."