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Expo is for families

July 24, 2007|By CATHERINE SUDUE

Growing the next generation of farmers

Betsy Herbst stood behind a fenced area as her 16-month-old grandson, Kaleb Long, played a game of chase with a pygmy goat and her two kids.

The director and coordinator of activities within the tent that houses the Ag Ventures and Birthing Center, Herbst said the expo is a great place for children to learn about agriculture and the food they eat.

"Food doesn't start in the grocery store. It starts with cows, pigs and chickens," said Herbst, of Williamsport.

Herbst said her grandson already is acquainted with farm animals.

"Kaleb is growing up on a dairy farm. He is the next generation of farmers," Herbst said.

She said she believes that farming is essential in a community.

"With only houses, we're going to have a hungry country," Herbst said. "You need some of this land to grow food."

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Steering toward a ribbon

Galen Sullivan stood in an area filled with cows and watched his grandson steer one of the animals during Monday's steering competition at Ag Expo.

Seeing so many cows in one area is nothing new for Sullivan.

"My son-in-law has a dairy farm and milks more than 200 head," said Sullivan, of Boonsboro.

Sullivan said one of the most rewarding parts of the day was watching his son take fourth place in his class at the cow-steering competition.

Bringing family, community together

Standing in a white collared shirt, khaki pants and brown boots, Rachel Martin said this was her fifth year at Ag Expo and her third year competing.

The 15-year-old who used to live on a farm steers cows as part of the annual dairy-steer competition at the expo.

As the fourth-place winner of the light-medium weight class of the cow-steering competition, Martin said her first year of competing was not as easy.

"The first year, it was a challenge because it was new," said Martin, of Smithsburg.

As Ag Expo continues this week, Martin said she plans to showcase other farm animals and sell some toward the end of the week.

"I also exhibit hogs and goats," Martin said. "It's something fun that brings the family and community together."

'Not an easy job'

As 17-year-old Morgan Smith sat in front of three huge cows in a shaded area, she spoke of her excitement as she prepared for today's competition with her brown Swiss.

"They're (her three cows) my babies," said Smith, of Clear Spring.

Smith, who has attended the expo since she was 8 years old, said she wants people to acknowledge farmers.

"I want people to have an appreciation for what they (farmers) do," Smith said. "People don't understand the life of a farmer. They wake up at 4 a.m. and work until 11 p.m. It's not an easy job, but someone has to do it."

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