How do you wean a calf? With love, compassion and hard work. In the Spring the Highland Riders 4-H hosted here at Miles Smith Farm decided to work with young calves for their 2016 project. Each day at least one member of the Highland Riders took the temperature of each of six calves, they checked body weight, checked for scours and recorded the data collected. The calves were regularly weighed and a note was made about how much each was eating. The 4Her’s learned to observe the calves and predict their behavior. It was hard work. They spent hours each week socializing, cleaning and collecting data.
The Highland Riders got to show the fruits of their hard work where they were judged at the Deerfield Fair in October. They placed in almost every class and were courteous to the judge and other competitors. In their barn they helped each other and their neighbors. They worked hard, even under the stress of showing, to make others feel comfortable and happy.
Not only did the Highland Riders 4-H work with calves, they also built a garden. They donated most of the produce from the garden to the local food pantry. A sample of their produce was put in a 4-H display at the Hopkinton Fair where it won the Commissioner’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture. The NH Agricultural Excellence Award is presented annually to one exhibitor at each NH Fair.
Hosting a group of teenagers working with cattle can be a challenge. In the end the Highland Riders were were patient with each other and their calves. They are an amazing group of young adults who may choose to be farmers, a profession in need of new recruits. Whatever career they choose these young farmers will make a difference.