Franklin County 4-H members show the animals they are raising

Getting ready to show at their market animals Friday night at the 4-H animal clinic held at Farmington Fairgrounds.

By Ann Bryant, Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — Franklin County 4-H members showed their current projects, young lambs and steers, Friday night to past buyers of their market animals.

There were a few blats as sheep were separated from their four-legged friends and just a little friskiness from the young animals as seasoned and novice showmen brought them in to the ring.

It was all part of a three day animal clinic held at Farmington Fairgrounds for members of the Dairy Club, Supper on the Table Marketing Club and Beef Boosters Club.

Area businesses were invited to meet with the 4-H members and see what they are raising for sale at upcoming Windsor, Farmington and Fryeburg fairs, Lilly Bagley, a club leader, said.

The youngsters, ages 6-14, helped prepare an appetizer bar for their guests; one featuring their products: chicken chili, roasted turkey, pulled pork, meatballs and lamb, she said.

Getting ready to show at their market animals Friday night at the 4-H animal clinic held at Farmington Fairgrounds.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Prior to the showing Friday, clinics on clipping, feeds and bedding were held to help the youngsters develop their skill and knowledge to care for the animals.

The clinics and work is all very hands on, Bagley said.

Their animals, staying at the fairgrounds for the weekend, were weighed Friday to see if they are on track for growing and conditioning or muscle tone, she said.

A fair official came to check the animals and provide pointers on care and showmanship. Hoof trimmer, Carl Greenman, came and trimmed the animals hooves for them.

This is a little mock fair, said Bagley, who leads the Supper on the Table Marketing Club with Sarah Rowe. Darlene Nelson leads the Dairy Club and Morgan Badeau leads the Beef Boosters.

Bagley’s son, Jason, 10, and Sarah Rowe’s son, Mason, 13, said they enjoy raising market animals and it can be profitable, depending on the market. Younger siblings agreed but also voiced their fondness for sports.

But, there is a lot of work and practice put in long before auction. There is feeding, cleaning and exercise to think about. Bagley walks the three lambs he’s raising a quarter mile at least every other day.

Kilee Merrill, 7, of Phillips with Lamby.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Halter breaking the animals is hard. It takes a lot work and practice, practice, practice, she said.

While friends are playing videos, Jason doesn’t even own one, she said. When friends come over, they help practice with his animals.

The life lessons and skills learned by the 4-H members go way beyond their young years.

They learn responsibility for self and something beyond themselves. They learn a lot of time management. While showing their animals at fair, they are up at 5 to feed and start washing them by 6 in order to show them at 9, she said.

They also learn to run their own little business. Jason Bagley is raising three sheep and a hog this summer. Sheep raised last year paid the $175 for each lamb and $100 for a hog.

The youngsters learn to budget the costs of feeding and caring for the animal each month so they will have an idea of what they need to make at auction. They learn how to keep and balance a checkbook.

They promote animal sales with brochures, market letters and this year, Rowe’s three sons have acquired business cards.

“These little entrepreneurs are taught they get out of it what they put in to it,” Bagley said. “They learn if they don’t feed them well and take care of them, they won’t get as much for them.”

One other special part of being in 4-H is the bond the kids develop. The older kids jump in and help the younger ones and no one gets to bully any of them.

They make lifelong friends. It is a little family, both Bagley and Rowe said. Both were in 4-H as youngsters and said they are glad they were.

Jason Bagley, 10, of Farmington with Sadie.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Jack Sullivan of Chesterville shows his 1,026 pound steer.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Madison White, 14, of New Vineyard.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Sophie Davis, 6, of Farmington

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Cameron Fitch, 15, Chesterville with Rocky, 1,086 pounds.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Natalie Orr, 10, of Farmington with her 955-pound Hereford called Patch.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Nicholas Rowe, 11, New Vineyard.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Lily Bachelder, 7, New Sharon with Sweetie.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Mason Rowe, 13, New Vineyard, with a frisky young lamb.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)


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