CALDWELL — What started out as something all her friends where doing, has now become something with a purpose and passion.
Kinley Schleicher, a Caldwell High School sophomore, shows pigs at the Canyon County Fair and Western Idaho Fair and it’s because of 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA).
“I’m making a positive impact with people around me,” she said.
She started 4-H at age 9, which triggered a love for pigs. Her passion for agriculture led her to help start up an FFA program at Caldwell High last year. The school hasn’t had a program for nearly 50 years. Kinley wanted a high school experience to be just like any other FFA student in Idaho.
“It’s important to have a program because of opportunities and scholarships,” she said. “You get to experience what the agricultural industry is like.”
She is using her experience with pigs to help create Caldwell High School’s FFA program. Kinley will start the school year as the FFA president.
“I can’t wait to see what happens,” she said. “We are still in the beginning stages.”
Every summer for the last three years, Kinley has experienced a piece of the agriculture business. This includes the purchase of pigs, as well as feeding, grooming and training.
She shows pigs at local fairs. It takes about three hours a day in the summer to prepare for fair competitions.
“It can be very stressful,” she said.
The morning routine starts at 6:30 a.m. for feeding. The pigs get a walk around the backyard. Some days a bath is needed. Training includes teaching the pigs to walk with their heads up.
She owns six pigs: Cordelia, Princess hmhm, Royal, Socks, Yeti and Ylenik.
“These pigs get to have a great life and connect with people,” she said. “It’s a lot of work though.”
Her pigs are like family. While training she has conversations with them about life and also counts on them during competitions.
“It’s like raising a family,” she said.
Kinley wants to attend the University of Idaho or Brigham Young University-Idaho and study animal science. Her dream job is to be an artificial insemination technician.
“My hope is that kids like Kinley can have an impact in educating the public to support agricultural enterprise,” said Kirk Pugsley, Vallivue’s 4-H swine leader. “It will take strong intelligent people like Kinley to achieve change through education.”