Next week is the start of the Dakota County fair. This is one of the most exciting times of the year for our family. The fair has been a long running family tradition. The Zweber kids started bringing calves, cows and other 4-H projects over 20 years ago. Our family never really “showed” cattle to win big bucks or even had a “show” herd, but they always seemed to do well. Then it isn’t about the winning. It is about the learning.
Showing cattle teaches so many valuable life skills: hard work, commitment, the ability to win and lose honorably, learning how to work with animals gently and respectfully and much more.
A couple months ago, a CNN food blog featured a chef who raved about buying meat from 4-H members. A person commented on the post that 4-H desensitizes kids to killing. This started a huge debate. So what is my opinion? Having a child learn that their project will one day become nutritional meat does not desensitize them. What does is not teaching children that all animals deserve the utmost respect and care while they are alive, no matter if their destination is for slaughter or not. I think I can speak for everyone in our family. Each animal we raise becomes a part of who we are and we need to honor their life and death.
This year both our boys will be showing a dairy calf at the fair. Of course they will both have helpers in the show ring ( Dad and Aunt Sam). The class they show in is a novice class and all the little kids get a trophy. The judge will ask the kids the name of their animal, birthday etc. It is really cute. Most importantly, these kids are learning that caring for an animal takes hardwork and commitment.
Come see us at the Dakota County fair Monday and Tuesday. We will have 15 animals there on display. We would be happy to chat with you!
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.