Polk County 4-H Member Finds Success in Calf Project

— Written By Kerry Jones
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Katelyn Ruff wins 4-H prize

Polk County 4-H member Katelyn Ruff, age 15, recently received the award for Best Project Record Book in the 2019 WNC Dairy Beef Feeder Calf Program. This program is designed to introduce young people to livestock showing, feeding, and care. Western North Carolina youth aged 8-18 were eligible to participate in the project. Each youth taking part was provided with a dairy calf that they were required to care for from March through the 2019 Mountain State Fair, when the calves were sold. Each participant received the sales proceeds for their project animal, minus the project enrollment fee.

In addition to showing their animal at the Haywood County Fair and the Mountain State Fair, participants were asked to create a record book about their experience and submit it for judging. Katelyn was chosen as the winner of the Record Book category and received a prize of $300. Her family are local farmers, but this was her first time showing an animal at an agricultural event. 

When Katelyn picked up her animal, the calf weighed 110 pounds, but when he was sold at the Mountain State Fair, he had grown to 472 pounds and fetched $1.08 per pound. “I was happy about the amount he sold for,” she said. “I’m glad there were buyers willing to pay more than market value to support us in this project. I am so thankful that I was able to be in this program and to do this project. I hope to show another animal in the future.” 

To find out how your child or teen can participate in this or similar programs in our area, contact Polk County 4-H at 828-894-8218 or email 4-H agent Helen Blackwell.