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Kids and Cattle: My First Heifer

1213w-heifer.jpg I'll never forget my first heifer, 510C. I was four years old when I got my start in the cattle business. That year, my grandpa had a bottle calf, and he asked me if I would take care of him and get him big enough to join the rest of the calves. I took great pride in feeding my bottle calf, although I'm sure I did plenty of watching, and my dad did most of the feeding.

For my efforts, Grandpa offered me his best replacement heifer that year. Boy, was I excited about her. I named her 510C Brianna, and we took her first bull, Jack, to the Black Hills Stock Show, when I was six. I will always hold those memories near and dear to my heart, and a BEEF Daily reader recently shared a story with me about how he created this same memory for his three-year-old nephew, Logan.

Loren Anderson of New Rockford, ND, shares his tale:

One sunny, winter day, my nephew, Logan, came for a visit from Minneapolis, MN. I had decided that this trip to the farm had to be a special one! Needless to say, Logan loves everything on the farm from riding and steering the tractors, riding the horses, helping make hay and playing with the new born calves. He’s just one good lil’ rancher!

The special day I gave him went something like this: Logan and I went for a walk over to the replacement heifer pen. Once we were in the pen, I asked Logan if someday he would like to own his very own cow. His response was, “Uncle Loren, I would love to have my very own cow someday.” So, I continued to inform him that today was that day, and he could choose one heifer that would be his very own. ”Really? Today?” I set him down, and you would have sworn he was a true cattle buyer. There were 14 heifers to choose from, which included four white, seven tan, one red, one black and one gray. He was very particular making sure to pick the best one. As I watched him look them over one by one, and then started over again to be sure he found the best, it was a heartwarming sight. About 15 minutes later, in the most serious face, as his small arms reached out for me to pick him up, he said, “Uncle Loren, I think I found her." I replied, “Are you sure?” “Yep,” he said. ”I really, really like that red one. Can I have her?” All I said was, “SOLD!”

Instantly his arms were wrapped around me as he whispered in my ear, “You’re the best, Uncle Loren!” The following morning I had to go back to work but later I was informed that Logan was up at the crack of dawn, vigorously shaking Grandpa and telling him, ”Come on, Grandpa, we gotta go! I need to feed my cow; she’s hungry!” Still, to this day, when he comes for a visit he always remembers that he has his very own cow to check each morning before it's time to fire up the tractor engine for another day’s worth of fun on the farm!

Do you remember your first calf? How old were you when you got your start in the business? What childhood memories do you have? Also, thanks to all of you who sent in your photos for the Kids and Cattle Photo Contest. There were so many great ones that it will take some additional time to select the top 10. Stay tuned for the finalists to be announced on Monday, along with the complete photo album for your viewing pleasure! Thanks again to all the participants!

In the meantime check out the photo gallery from last year's Cattle Call Contest.