RAGERSVILLE -- The 2012 queen and princess were crowned and several board members were elected at the 2012 Tuscarawas County Pork Producers annual banquet March 15 at Zion United Church of Christ in Ragersville.
Elizabeth "Liz" Beller, 16-year old daughter of Laurie Beaber and Jeff Beller of 403 Rice Road SW, Stone Creek, was crowned queen, while 11-year old Morgan Spillman, daughter of Doug and Courtney Spillman of 3445 Horger Hill Road SE, New Philadelphia, was crowned princess.
The versatile queen is no stranger to the royal court, since Liz recently completed a successful year as the 2011 Tuscarawas County Senior Dairy princess. Her special Guernsey heifer, "Sadie," has won the reserve champion title at the past two Tuscarawas County Fairs.
Liz is a nine-year member of Town & Country 4-H Club. At this year's Tuscarawas County Fair, she plans to take a market hog, a dairy heifer, a dairy goat and a pygmy goat project. She has taken market hog projects for the past eight years.
Liz also serves as a 4-H Camp Counselor. She is a junior at New Philadelphia High School where she is involved in track and field and is a member of the German Club and Science Adventure Club.
Liz also takes piano lessons and is an active member of Jerusalem Church where she assists with Daily Vacation Bible school.
"I am looking forward to promoting the pork industry and the nutritional value of eating pork not only to adults but also to the younger generation," Liz said.
The new pork princess is familiar to the pork scene, her parents having been involved in pork projects since their 4-H days.
Morgan is a three-year member of Happy Homesteaders 4-H Club. She took market hog projects and a cooking project at the 2011 Tuscarawas County Fair.
Morgan is a fifth grader at Indian Valley elementary School where she plays softball and basketball.
The new pork queen summed up her thoughts on being chosen 2012 pork queen.
"I want to represent the Tuscarawas County pork industry as queen so I can have the opportunity to promote pork and its nutritional value, and let children know where the meat really comes from," she said. "I am so grateful to have been chosen to represent the pork industry as queen, giving me the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the industry, and I hope to have a wonderful year."
Jamie Beaber, whose sister was the 2009 Tuscarawas County Pork queen, was in charge of the royalty contest.
Scholarships will be awarded to Tuscarawas County high school or college students who are pursuing a degree in agriculture or an ag-related field.
A total of ten $500 scholarships were awarded last year. The 2012 scholarship winners will be announced when the scholarship committee has made its final decision.
Mary Jane John commented on a new pork video.
"In the near future, we will be seeing different kinds of commercials concerning pork production. Ohio Pork Producers has come out with a new animated video showing why pork production of necessity as changed from what it used to be," she said "Most pigs are raised in large barns by caring and efficient farmers. These farmers are being referred to as 'bacon farmers,' or 'ham farmers' or 'pork chop farmers.'" The purpose of doing an animated video was to come at the audience of consumers in a fun more approachable way than ever before.
"The Tuscarawas County Pork Producers hope to be able to share this video with the public at the Farm Day at Tuscora Park this coming June," John said.
Chris Abbuhl and Kerry Metzger, Tuscarawas County commissioners, praised the pork producers for their interest in the youth of the county and for their support of agriculture in general. "I always look forward to the good food served from the pork trailer during the county fair," Abbuhl said. The pork producers also participated in a number of community based projects during the years. They donated cleaning products and personal items to the homeless shelter, supported the "Dress a Child" program and helped at the Forest Heritage Festival and Warther Christmas Tree Festival.
Past president Sue Canfield said, "Although there are not many 'real' pork producers left in our group, I hope we have done our part to promote pork as well as anyone. I hope, as a group, you feel as I do that we are making a little difference in Tuscarawas County."
Mark Laughlin, board president, was not able to attend because of illness. A family-style chicken and ham dinner was served.