It’s no secret that I love agriculture, and my roots always
will be planted deeply in the country, no matter where life takes me in the
To me, grabbing a pair of jeans and pulling on a pair of
“cowgirl” boots before heading out to run some errand or hit the town is
fashionable attire, no matter how many looks or comments I may receive informing
Some of my greatest memories and achievements so far in life
can be attributed to my involvement in youth organizations with a strong tie to
the agriculture industry, including FFA, 4-H and the Soil and Water Conservation
Youth Board of Johnson County.
Although I may have been the only girl or the only student,
for that matter, in my senior speech class who gave their demonstration speech
on how to properly dock lambs’ tails and castrate baby rams, I was and always
will be proud of how I was raised and thankful to my parents for instilling in
me at an early age the importance of farming and agriculture.
Recently, I have been on the road quite a bit for work,
traveling to different county fairs around the state to meet and watch Hoosier
4-H members in action.
From Wabash to Shelbyville and many other fair visits in
between, I have met several incredible 4-H members that are all united by their
passion for agriculture, whether it’s through showing livestock with their
family or working on efforts to promote 4-H to their fellow peers.
Last week, I was able to attend my home fair in Johnson
County, where I was a 10-year 4-H member. While at the fair, trying not to melt,
I had the chance to follow a brother-and-sister duo, who are in their third year
of 4-H and probably would live in the beef barn with their steers if their mom
I will admit that I always have been nervous around steers
and even during my years in 4-H would avoid the cattle barn at all costs, partly
because I showed pigs and sheep, but also because cattle can get spooked
extremely easily and when a 1,300-pound beef steer has decided he has had enough
showing, he’s had enough.
Needless to say, I am pretty positive I spent more time last
week in the cattle barn and the side of the show arena where the market steer
and heifer shows are than I ever did during my entire 4-H career combined, but
it was worth it.
I enjoyed every minute I spent with the young beef experts,
as they explained to me all the hard work and long hours that go into showing
cattle at the fair and that the project really starts the moment they purchase
their show cattle, which this past year was the previous November.
However, as impressed as I was with both siblings’ knowledge
of their steers and the beef industry, in general, what really knocked me off my
feet was watching this pair in the show ring.
For some reason, their steers decided that a trip to the
county fair was cause for a celebration and to act ornery whenever it was their
turn to be shown.
Naturally, my first response when I saw this was to run away
and go hang out somewhere safe, maybe with the rabbits, especially when I
noticed another steer getting a bit frisky, but I didn’t, and the cause for
concern quickly left my mind when I saw how both the brother and sister, even
though they are fairly petite in size, hung on to their steers and kept with
Their efforts paid off because even though one of the
siblings did get his foot stepped on twice, they ended the fair week with
several first- and second-place ribbons.