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      No Farm Girl, but Hastings Teen Loves Showing Cattle

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      "I'd love to have a farm with a bunch of cattle."


      Spoken like a true farm girl, Madison St. John would love to raise chickens, goats, sheep.

      "Just a little bit of everything," she says with a smile as she prepared to show cattle at the county fair.

      But she's not a farm girl, she lives in the city of Hastings, where her friends don't quite get it, when she talks about showing animals at Adams County Fairfest.

      "Whenever I talk about it, they're like what, that's so gross," she said. "Done it ten years."

      Her grandpa's a longtime 4-H leader and passed on a passion for livestock.

      She said, "I feel like they're my pet, my responsibility to feed and water. They're kind of like life size dog."

      Extension Educator Beth Janning explained 4-H is open to kids in town and in the country, and that Adams County is fortunate to have farm families willing to work with city kids on their animal projects.

      "If you have an interest, we're able hopefully to connect you and build that interest to keep you going," she said.

      Wherever they live, many start at a young age, like Cameron Czekai who lives near Blue Hill.

      He said, "You learn a lot of stuff about it and it pays off at the end of it."

      Janning said they'll start in the winter with an animal that's 6 to 8 hundred pounds and watch them grow up to 12 or 13 hundred pounds.

      "So they have to work with that animal and figure out how to make sure how to keep them calm, work with them that it gets along with them," she explained.

      Madison doesn't live far from her goats, ducks, geese, or sheep. But it's working with cattle she hopes to make her life.

      "I really like cows, that's what I want to go into with my career. I want to do cattle, large animal vet tech," she said.

      She plans to start at Central Community College and then attend the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

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