4-H project develop into breeding herdWritten by Christy Hemken
After nine years participating in her local 4-H club, Laney, daughter of Tom and Cassy Johnston, has shown horses, market beef, breeding beef, market swine and art projects as well as competing in horse and livestock judging and presentation projects.
“My favorite thing to show is beef,” says Laney. “I really enjoy them, and from my projects over the years I now have my own breeding herd of 18 cows, which I AI every year, then I take the calves to the fair and show them, and I also sell some of them to local kids for their projects. My 4-H projects have started me on my own little cow herd.” She says her herd also enables her to compete in the bred and raised shows.
In her horse projects she says she competes in every event.
As a junior in high school, Laney’s going on a third year in her local FFA chapter. “I love FFA,” she says. “I do a lot with beef projects and the livestock judging team, as well as parliamentary procedure, horse judging and range judging.”
Although her family doesn’t own a ranch, they work on and manage a ranch near Boulder. “Our family does contract haying and farming as well, so I spend a lot of my summers out there,” she says.
Of the 4-H leadership team, Laney says she’s excited and looking forward to being a part of it. “4-H is more than just showing animals, and the whole junior leader thing is really great,” she notes, adding that she recently helped with a camp held at a local ski resort for younger members. “4-H includes a lot of leadership, and that’s another thing I really like about it.”
“Laney has a great work ethic and a wonderful attitude. She’s always around to help the younger members, and is so enthusiastic,” says Sublette County 4-H leader Robin Schamber, adding, “She’s raised some great quality show steers in the last several years from her breeding beef project.”
“Showing takes a lot of time, preparation and dedication,” says Laney, mentioning her daily morning routine of bringing her steers in to work with them. “You can really tell who’s been working and who hasn’t when it comes time to show. If you want to be the best, you have to put out a lot of effort. I’ve been successful in my county, but it takes a lot of dedication, and time.”
However, she says the feeling of accomplishing something yourself is what’s rewarding, and what makes the work worth it. “I want to go into the cattle business when I get older, so my experience in 4-H and FFA and showing has taught me a lot, for sure.”
Laney will compete in the Sublette County Fair this summer from July 23 through Aug. 2.