|For Garrett Laier, picking the right steer can make all the difference. |
The 16-year-old Howell resident raises cattle and auctions them off each year at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds. Last year, one of his was sold for $1,000. This year, one of his cows, Rodeo, earned Laier $3,375.
It’s a long process for some 4-H youth — those raising steer can spend 10 or more months with their animals, forming a close bond.
Cohoctah Township’s Matt Jefferson, 14, spent two hours a day with his steer, Dewey, before auctioning him off Friday for $3,710.
"You’re with them for a year, so you really do build a good relationship; yet, you have to try not and let it get too strong because they do have to go to market," said Jefferson, who had a grand champion steer at this year’s fair.
Raising animals can help mold youth into fine young adults, according to members and parents of members of 4-H groups.
Deerfield Township’s Emily Bontkoe said she learned responsibility while raising her steer, Grant, as well as several other things.
"You have to try different feeds to see which one they like the best," Bontkoe, 12, said. "They like little treats and stuff. I found out he likes bread."
Sometimes, space can be an issue, especially in a city like Howell, so some 4-H youth raise smaller animals, such as rabbits.
Howell’s Shelby and Terra Szkrybalo, members of the Fuzzy Critters 4-H Club, were at the fair Saturday to auction off some of their 77-day-old rabbits.
"I just think they’re nice animals, nice and calm and friendly," said Shelby Szkrybalo, whose three rabbits scored $5 a pound at auction.
However, in the end, most 4-H youth learn to move on, and will take up another animal for next year’s fair.
"I’m going to miss him pretty bad. It’s going to be pretty hard," Laier said, then contemplated and added, "Having the big check — it’s nice to have."
Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Kristofer Karol at (517) 552-2835 or at email@example.com.
Originally published July 22, 2007Print this article
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