McHENRY, Md. — Alana Harman recalled various experiences she’s had over the years as a 4-H member. At age 12, she had to tube-feed a goat because its mother wouldn’t nurse it and the kid refused to drink from a bottle.
While the baby goat got off to a rough start, it ended up being a county bred grand champion.
That was seven years ago.
Recently, Harman, now 19, sold a goat and steer at the 63rd annual Garrett County Agriculture Fair’s 4-H and FFA livestock sale.
Although she’s studying accounting at Frostburg State University, Harman said her future, like her past, will include work in agriculture.
Her brother Jesse, 17 and their sister Daphne, 14, also exhibited animals at the fair.
“It’s a lot of work,” Jesse said of raising livestock to sell. He also recalled when he was younger and sold animals he had raised. “It’s really hard (to let go) the first time, then you start to make money.”
The Harman siblings were among 193 exhibitors that earned $417,174.55 at the sale and sold 297 animals, which included 41 sheep, 111 swine, 82 steers, 59 goats, two pens of three rabbits and two pens of two chickens.
Holly Bittinger of Salisbury, Pennsylvania, was at the fair with her daughter Kammy, 13, who was preparing to sell a steer at the market.
Kammy is a member of the Avilton 4-H Club.
“I was in 4-H, I grew up on a farm,” Bittinger said of encouraging her daughter to become active in the organization. “It teaches her responsibility.”
McHenry resident Leah Fratz, 11, is a member of the Oak Hill 4-H Club. She sold a steer and sheep at the fair.
Leah talked of the work involved to get the animals ready for the annual sale.
“They have to learn to be good and just (walk) with you,” she said of training her sheep to be exhibited. “We work about two hours every night and morning, or even longer.”
Sierra Tichnell, 17, of Oakland sold a Boer goat at the event.
“Genetics mean a lot,” she said of choosing a good market animal. Diet and exercise are also important. “I actually run my animals so they build more muscle than fat.”
Sierra plans to attend the University of Kentucky and study animal science to become a veterinarian.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do my entire life,” she said. “It’s just a passion of mine.”