LIHUE – They’ve all had names. There was Herbie and Russell. And then there was Tunda and Chilli. There was even a Booger, named as such because he was irritating.
But for Hallie Cristobal, Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair exhibitor, naming her 236-pound, 4-H pig was easy.
“Scarlett Johanson,” Cristobal said Thursday. “She is strong, brave and beautiful, just like my pig.”
The 2012 Waimea High School graduate has been showing and auctioning off her pigs, lambs, goats and steers, during her nine years as a 4-H member.
“They are your pet, but they are also your way to make a living,” Cristobal explained.
Raised in the agricultural setting at her family’s first generation ranch on 21 acres, Cristobal has learned the value and fine art of caring for and raising animals of all kinds. Horses are her favorite.
“I’ve had a couple horses I’ve camped overnight next to when they were sick or after they gave birth,” Cristobal said. “I helped pull my horse Spirit out when he was born six years ago.”
And while her horses are like her kids, she has had to leave them the past two years to go off to college. She is studying human nutrition and animal nutrition at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. The sale of her animals has financed her education thus far.
“4-H saved my college career,” Cristobal said.
But the payoff for raising the animals hasn’t always come easily. The hours invested have been long and arduous. She is up to feed the horses at 5 a.m., then the 4-H animals and then the farm animals. Her day typically doesn’t end until 10 at night.
The fruit of her labor comes when she sells her animals. Her steer, Pal and pig, Scarlett Johanson can garner anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 each.
Scarlett received the grand champion and showmanship award Thursday, the first day of the fair.
Cristobal said her mother Laurie, owner of “Friendship Do’s Ranch” in Waimea, has a tougher time than she does letting go of the animals.
“She has goats and horses but she is too soft-hearted. She has a hard time selling one animal,” Cristobal said.
The end of the fair can be a difficult time, too.
“When they take the animals to the slaughterhouse on Sunday and you see them all hanging there, it’s pretty gruesome.”
Lisa Ann Capozzi, a features and education reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.