The Metcalfe County 4-H Council Inc. has been awarded a $1,350 grant through the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board to help offset the expense of purchasing 18 hams for a meat production education project in 2020.

The project was one of 51 agricultural diversification and rural development projects across the state that was recently funded by the KADB, said a press release from the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy.

“The money we get is to help offset the cost for families in our county,” said Amy Branstetter, Metcalfe County Extension Agent for 4-H and Youth Development.

The meat production education project is not new to Metcalfe County.

“This has been going on for a few years. We just try to help the best we can to offset the price for our families,” she said.

The cost of the meat production education project is about $75 per family.

“Normally, our kids only have to pay $25 for their project,” she said.

Branstetter explained that the children taking part in the project select two hams at the Clifty Farms meat processing facility in Scottsville, usually in March.

“After they select the hams, they put a salt cure mix on them,” she said.

The salt cure mix stays on the hams for about two months after which they are washed and then smoked at the meat processing facility.

When the children return to Clifty Farms to pick up their hams, they choose one to enter in competition at the Kentucky State Fair in August and the other ham will go home with the children, she said.

“The first Thursday of the Kentucky State Fair, the child will go up to the fair and they will give a 3 to 5 minute speech over a topic the University of Kentucky selects,” Branstetter said. “The hams will be judged. The speeches will be judged and then the families can bring their hams home at that point.

“They wind up getting two hams and the child gets some communication skills, being able to do a speech and also knowing the age old process of curing hams.”

There are typically 20 children who take part in the meat production education project each year.

“We've had up to 56 in the past,” Branstetter said.

This year, there will be about 17 children taking part in the project, she said.

KADB invested more than $4.8 million in the 51 agricultural diversification and rural development projects. Other projects funded included farmers' markets, commercial kitchens, agriculture exposition facilities, fairground infrastructure upgrades, school greenhouse projects, youth livestock equipment, on-farm investments and environmental stewardship, next generation farmer, youth agriculture incentives and on-farm energy efficiency programs, the press release said.