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Minnesota 4-H'er turns hobby into career

Mikayla showing her dairy cow at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair 

Mikayla E. grew up on a dairy farm in Washington County. Across her 13 years of showing dairy cattle in 4-H, what started as a simple hobby during the summer has become Mikayla's passion. Her experiences in 4-H led her to college and career goals focused on the dairy industry.

Mikayla recently reminisced about her time at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair. This year she was honored in the Minnesota 4-H Dairy Showcase, a program that recognizes 4-H youth for their dedication to their cows, clubs and communities. This year she was awarded a $3,500 scholarship through the program, one of the highest prizes available. This award came after many years of perseverance and dedication. "The harder the work you put in, the better results you'll see," she said during a recent interview.

Mikayla and her Brown Swiss named Felisha
But Mikayla’s successes didn’t come without more than a few failures along the way. She faced and overcame several challenges during her 4-H years, including hard losses to other youth and their dairy cows. “Losing in the ring is always hard, but it teaches you how to deal with loss and grow.” She said losing gives the opportunity to improve upon in future years. “It fuels your drive.” That “it,” taking the hard losses as they come, has fueled a drive in Mikayla. And also a future career.

This fall, Mikayla began her college career at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a major in Animal Science- Pre Vet. She hopes to one day become a practicing veterinarian focusing on large animals. She also plans to run her own dairy farm and, eventually, give her own kids the opportunity to find their passion through 4-H. “I’m grateful for 4-H because it has provided me the opportunity to grow my hobby of showing dairy cows into a lifelong passion.”

by Janelle Hueners
University of Minnesota Student
Chisago County 4-H Alum

Learn more about the 4-H dairy project.

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