The 4-H auction is an exciting time for young Alaska farmers. On Sunday, each of the 80-plus animals raised by kids through the program were sold inside the Farm Exhibition area at the Alaska State Fair.


“She turned out really nice,” said 11-year-old Samara Johnson of her pig, Black Widow, which earned the champion prize for hogs. “I didn’t think I would get grand champion, except people were encouraging me. I [won] because I started thinking I would.”


This is her second year competing in the 4-H competition at the fair. She said she has learned to say goodbye to the pigs after they are sold.


At auction, bidders — many of them local business owners — are generous: a turkey sold for $1,000. Grant Aviation was no exception. Its winning bid of $17.75 per pound for Samara’s pig earned her a total of nearly $5,000.


“I’m kind of sad to see it go, but I’m also happy that it will help feed people,” said Samara, who plans to eventually use the money to help pay for college.


In her case, she will help feed hundreds of people who need food most. All 280 pounds of Black Widow were donated to Bean’s Cafe. The executive director said they often receive donations from the state fair, but they are rarely so large.


“Businesses like Grant Aviation that step up and not only support the 4-H child who had worked so hard, but then to double donate and give the animal to an organization working to feed the hungry and homeless just speaks volumes,” said Lisa Sauder, who said they will “maximize” their use of the pig to ensure all the meat is eaten.


The butchering was donated by the Alaska Division of Agriculture, so Bean’s Cafe will not have to pay for the meat to be processed.


KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.