SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Livestock owners from near and far once again had the opportunity to network and compete in various cattle shows — including the Highland open — at this year’s New York State Fair.
The Highland cattle show in particular is always a popular event with both competitors and visitors and boasts some very high quality animals.
“I’ve got two second-place and one third-place awards so far,” said Dan Utter, farm manager of Ledyard Farms in King Ferry, N.Y. “There are some really good quality cattle at this show. It’s an amazing show. There was 87 signed up for this show and there is 70 head here now. After this we all go out to Denver, Colo., in January and a lot of the champions are from the East Coast.”
Utter has managed 40 head of Highland cattle for both meat and breeding stock since 2003. He admits that the farm has come a long way since one of the two owners visited Scotland and fell in love with the Highland cattle.
“When he got back from Scotland he immediately bought some,” he said.
Sisters Jessie and Stacia Richardson of Springfield, N.H., also ventured to the fair to show their Highland cattle. They grew up on their family farm, where they help manage 90 to 100 head of Highland cattle for beef and breeding stock. Although they are new to competition and this is only their second trip the New York State Fair, they were presented with several awards for their animals.
“We’re a little bit nervous, but we’re having a great time,” said Stacia.
Glen Trush, owner of Woodwatch Farm near Georgetown, N.Y., is also relatively new to the Highland breed and to competition, but has really jumped at the opportunity to work with this diverse animal.
“We’re new to Highlands. We got into it because our ground is very poor and the Highlands are great foragers and they convert poor land better than some of the other breeds,” he said. “In Georgetown, the weather is quite severe, which is another reason why we choose this breed of cattle.”
Trush has around 300 acres and two children whom he wanted to introduce to the breed.
“This is our third show — now we have six 4-H’ers that we bring with us to the show to compete. The oldest is 16 and is new to the show and was awarded first, second, and third in the novice class. So, we’re really excited,” said Trush.