Milking Shorthorn Career Blossoms

8/18/2012 7:00 AM

Maryland Teen to Compete at All-American

Laurie Savage

Maryland Correspondent

SABILLASVILLE, Md. — When Shelby Hahn first moved to a small farmette, she was daunted by the Shorthorn beef cattle that resided there.

“When we first moved to the farm, I was really little. We had a cow that scared me a lot,” she said.

The beef cattle were the result of the project her mother, Tess, and her uncle had for several decades. When Hahn’s grandparents moved to Pennsylvania, her parents, including father, Terry, bought their farmette so the cattle would not have to be sold.

“We have a little over nine acres here,” Hahn said.

Rather than abandoning the Shorthorn cattle altogether, Hahn’s parents purchased a smaller Milking Shorthorn for her from the Albaugh family of Daysland Acres in nearby Walkersville, Md.

“I was 9 years old when we got Abby,” Hahn said, so she jumped right in to showing the heifer.

“I worked with her all the time.”

Today, 7-year-old Abby is still on the farm. Her offspring totaled six, some of which became steers the family raised for the freezer. The heifers became show animals.

“I still take her to all the shows I go to,” Hahn said.

There are three milking cows on the farm and three heifers. A fourth cow resides at a friend’s farm nearby since Hahn no longer shows her. That family will purchase her calf as a show project.

“Everybody on our farm is a Shorthorn or has Shorthorn blood in them,” she said.

Some Shorthorn beef cattle are on the farm that her brothers, Dusty and Robert, show, and some are destined for the freezer. Hahn sometimes shows a beef project when her busy schedule allows.

“I am trying to market a beef bull,” she said, who she will take to several shows this fall.

In addition to the small herd of dairy and beef animals, the Hahn family rents an additional 50 to 60 acres to grow the majority of the crops, including corn, hay, oats and barley, needed to feed the animals.

“It works out pretty well,” Hahn pointed out.

Cows typically freshen in the spring, so milk for calves only needs to be purchased in the winter months when cows are dry.

The highlight of the active youth’s Milking Shorthorn career came in 2010 when her heifer, Windswept Farm Sam Allie-Ann, was named supreme champion best bred and owned of the open show during special evening ceremonies at the Great Frederick Fair.

“That was the best day ever,” Hahn said, topping exhibitors of all breeds to become the first Milking Shorthorn to take the title. Other exhibitors approached her and inquired if she wanted the calf to go on the truck heading to Madison, Wis.

The calf didn’t make the trip, but Hahn is planning to take her entire show string on the road to this year’s All-American Dairy Show. The string includes her first cow, Abby, and Abby’s two daughters and three granddaughters.

In addition to raising and showing Milking Shorthorns, Hahn enjoys promoting the breed and the dairy industry. Last year, the Catoctin High School senior was the Maryland Milking Shorthorn Queen, and this year she is an alternate Maryland dairy princess.

As Milking Shorthorn queen, she handed out ribbons at local shows and helped dairy princesses with their dairy promotions. She provided a Milking Shorthorn calf for a former dairy princess who presented a program at a local school.

“We used her to talk to the kids,” Hahn said.

Last year and this coming year, one of Hahn’s calves will be featured in the Frederick fair’s Milky Way educational display, representing the Milking Shorthorn breed.

No matter whether she is on the tanbark trail or promoting her breed and industry, Hahn enjoys spending time with her cows.

“They like the attention. They are absolutely spoiled rotten, which makes them easier to handle. They are very docile,” she said.

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