Showing cattle isn’t a family tradition for two young Ontario women — it’s something they began to do on their own.
Maddie Heard from Peterborough County has been showing dairy cattle for four years, while Layne Chantler from South Simcoe has been showing beef cattle for five years.
Why it matters: Showing livestock is a family tradition for many farmers across the province, and it often takes a family to manage animals to get them to the show ring.
Heard and Chantler are each part of the first generation in their families to show cattle and they are happy with their decisions.
Chantler’s sister, who started showing cattle a few years ago, inspired her to do the same.
She says she loves showing. It has allowed her to teach and work with the younger generation.
“I love helping, I love teaching them how to do things and seeing them improve,” she said at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair while being there to showcase her heifer in the Junior Angus Show.
Chantler says the intensity of the competition at the Royal and the ability to help is the reason she continues to come back each year.
“The temperament of the animals is what caught my eye. I’ve come to the Royal since before I could walk helping my cousins. Finally, being able to be in the ring showing one of their animals is [fantastic].”
It’s a family adventure with all three of her sisters showing alongside her. Although they compete against each other, they help each other out.
Her mother, three sisters and grandparents spent the week at the Royal together. They brought the calves down the first Wednesday and stayed until the following Tuesday to compete in both the National 4-H Show and Junior Show.
Heard has been showing dairy for four years and is continuing to build her show herd.
She grew up on a dairy farm but didn’t begin showing cattle until she was 13 and she hasn’t looked back.
“It was a lot of my friends influencing me to do it. I live on a dairy farm so I have always been interested but I never really got into it until I really bugged my parents to get me into it,” she said while she was exhibiting at the Royal Winter Fair TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic. He parents hadn’t had the same experience and did not show animals.
Meeting new people, watching her animals progress and learning are some of her favourite aspects about showing.
“4-H has helped me professionally; it’s helped me gain a lot of knowledge with starting to take care of my own calves. As well, with our meetings we have to public speak and that’s really helped me to speak with people,” says Heard.
She hopes to continue her education at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus to help her achieve her dream of becoming a herd manager and she says that showing has really benefited her in helping to achieve that dream.