Friday, February 10th marked the 35th annual pork butchering fundraiser organized by the Catoctin Area FFA Alumni and Catoctin High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter. Each year, FFA students, alumni and community volunteers to come together at the school in support of the FFA youth. The event was created as a fundraiser, but also as a means of agriculture education around the process of where pork comes from and how the meat is processed.
This event would not be possible without the support of local businesses, FFA alumni, volunteers and students alike. Some of the local businesses involved included:
• Shuff’s Meat Market (2022 Frederick County Ag Business of the Year)- Hogs
• Jubilee Foods- Extra Meat
• Hillside Turkey Farms, Emmittsburg Fire Co and Frederick Food Pro- Refrigerated Trucks and Trailer
• Time and Other Resources donated by: Chestnut Hill Farm and Market (Ag Innovation Grant Recipient), Catoctin Mountain View Farms, Wolf Farms, Catoctin Mountain Labs, Guardian Lawn Care, Sunbelt Rentals, Guardian Hose Company and others!
Approximately 100 community members assist with the fundraiser each year. At this year’s event, 23 hogs were processed on site. All funds from the sale of the meat go back to the FFA Chapter and are used to hold an annual banquet and help with the students’ State FFA Convention costs. Catoctin High School Ag educator, FFA Advisor and one of Homegrown Frederick’s Top Young Ag Professionals, Amy Jo Poffenberger has been involved with the butchering fundraiser for 13 years. Her favorite aspect of the event is that “It is more than a butchering. The involvement from the community and the entire school makes this an educational experience for all.” Teachers in all subjects throughout the school brought their classes to the ag area to experience the butchering and some even had their students complete assignments relevant to their studies. This allows students to gain a new respect and appreciation for agriculture and where their food comes from. Abby Moreland, Catoctin Chapter President said, “I am lucky to be involved in such a unique experience.” She loves the organization it takes to pull the event off and the ability to meet new faces through her work with both the event and FFA.
The annual event also brings many former FFA members and their families together. A ten-member committee helps to organize the butchering with each member working on a specific task. The former members that come back year after year are sure to mention that each event is smoother and more organized than the last. They are honored to pay it forward and help continue the legacy that gives back to the kids. Kendall Abruzzesse, former Catoctin FFA President and current Maryland State FFA President said, “It gives me a sense of pride to come back and help give back to an organization that has done so much for me.” She also invited her colleague and State FFA Secretary who studied at North Harford High School to experience the butchering.
Homegrown Frederick staff was honored to take part in this year’s event and couldn’t be more pleased with the work the Catoctin High School does to showcase agriculture while involving the community. We truly witnessed the village it takes to organize and execute the fundraiser and appreciate the effort. Well done, Amy Jo, volunteers and students for a successful butchering!