Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 06, 2001, Image 50

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    82-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, January 6,2001
Hoover Family Begins Farm Show Career
Brenden, Aaron, Brad, and Audrey join Myra, a Farm Show veteran from last year.
The Holstein will return this year to compete as a 4-year-old.
Lancaster Farming Staff
LEBANON (Lebanon Co.)
Farm Show. The gathering of
throngs of people, agricultural
and agribusiness displays, good
food, bad weather, and, of
course, myriads of livestock com
The Hoover family is excited
to be a part of it.
Last year Brad, 16, and Aaron,
14, spent the full week with their
three animals at the show. This
coming year Brenden, 12, will
raise that number to four as he
brings this year’s 4-H heifer,
“Inkie,” to compete. They have
been 4-H members since they
were eight, giving them the nec
essary fitting and showmanship
Even though dairy farming
runs in the Hoover family tree
from Reid, the attraction to the
show ring may come from Diane,
who showed Ayrshires almost
Reid, Diane, Brenden, 12; Audrey, 9; Brad, 16;. and
Aaron, 14, operate a Lebanon County dairy farm. This
year the family purchased their biggest Christmas tree
yet, according to Diane.
every year along with most of her
family. Last year was the first
year the Hoover boys competed
in Harrisburg.
“We thought they were told
enough. It is something they’re
doing and we don’t have
there all the time,” said DUne.
“There were other young kids
from the county with their cattle,
and they had them together! so
they could help each other.”
“They’re big enough that me
could still run the farm and pot
be there,” said Reid. “Tley
showed they could take cars of
things and be responsible.”
Along with Reid’s brother, the
family crops 500 acres of corn,
alfalfa, and soybeans. Reid grew
up on the farih, which has been
in the family since 1963. After
moving away for a short time,
Reid brought his family back to
the home farm, where they have
lived for 14 years.
The Farm Show, according to
Reid, is a unique public relations
opportunity. “There are a lot of
people there that aren’t farmers,
and We wanted the boys to keep
things clean and neat, to be po
“It’s your advertising, your
image,” said Diane.
Four-year-old Holstein, Myra,
stationed on the end of a row,
had her own public relations
campaign as she had a lot of pic
tures taken of her, according to
Even though last year marked
the Hoovers’ inaugural year at
the Farm Show, packing was not
an insurmountable challenge be
cause they had helped friends the
previous year, “so we knew what
to pack,” said Aaron.
Brad also gained experience
this year in Madison, Wis., at the
World Dairy Expo expertise
he’s eager to test in Harrisburg.
Brad was able to spend a week in
Madison fitting cows, an educa
tional experience he hopes to
translate to his own animals this
Sister Audrey, 9, may also be
headed for the show ring in fu
ture years. She exhibited a calf
when she was seven. “We’re not
sure who showed whom,” said
Diane. Besides helping to feed
the calves, Audrey takes care of
the family’s 16 chickens.
Calf feeding rotates among
Hoover siblings according to
football and basketball seasons,
and who is playing what sport,
according to Diane.
The animals the Hoovers
showed at the Farm Show were
homebred. Reid, who is especial
ly interested in the breeding as
pect of dairy farming, enjoys the
challenge of breeding for a quali
ty calf. “We like seeing if we can
breed something that can com
pete with the others,” said Diane.
“We enjoy milking cows, but
breeding just adds flavor and a
challenge,” said Reid. “Genetics
is interesting to me, to see how
you can improve.”
The show ring adds interest to
dairy farming for the younger
generation, according to Reid.
“As parents, we like to see that,”
he said, noting the decrease in
the number of farmers and the
increase in the average age of
“Showing teaches preparation
and work, if you’re first or last,”
said Reid. “You have to be dedi
cated and willing to work hard.
You just can’t go up there and
not prepare for it. You have to
work with them before the Farm
Show. It teaches responsibility,
not just on the farm, but in any
“Showing teaches winning and
losing graciously,” said Diane.
Besides taking advantage of
the array of famous Farm Show
food, the Hoovers enjoyed meet
ing a lot of new people and learn
ing more about fitting during
their week at the show.
One unforgettable experience,
said Aaron, came in the middle
of the night, when the brothers
were abruptly
awakened by a
horse as it put a ■
large hoof through
their plastic show
box, leaving a
large hole which
still remains.
“I was sleeping right on the
other side,” said Aaron.
A typical day at the Farm
Show includes clipping the ani
mals, which takes the most time,
according to Brad, at 4 a.m. to 6
a.m. before the crowds arrive.
Lines begin to form even in the
early morning hours as exhibitors
hurry to wash their animals dur
ing the quieter time of the day.
Keeping the animals clean, said
Brad, also keeps the Hoovers
busy during the week.
The Hoovers transport the
Brenden and Audrey, along with help from Aaron,
take care of feeding the farm’s calves. The Hoovers milk
130 registered Hoisteins.
load of food, clothing, beds,
sleeping bags, fitting equipment,
plus food and bedding for the an
imals needed for the week away
from home. Even with all this
material, however, exhibitors
may not use a stall or the aisles
for storage space. Exhibitors are
assigned specific spots in the
barn, but may request to be next
to another exhibitor.
“For their first year showing
we had really good weather,”
said Diane, who is crossing her
fingers for a repeat this year, de
spite the long track record of a
snowy Farm Show week. “Large
amounts of snow would make it
dificult to get feed up there.”
Diane not only provided the ani-
mals but also her boys with
ample supplies of food during
the week.
“There’s a lot of preparation
before you get there,” said Brad.
The family puts their heifers on a
special ration of protein to grow
the animals out, plus hay to fill
them out.
“Or we work the weight off of
them,” said Aaron.
This extra time and attention
to the Farm Show animals is
freely given. “They (the Hoover
family) would say I baby them,”
said Brad. “I probably spend
more time with the show cows
than the other cows.”
The Farm Show provides ex
hibitors with a bag of peanut
hulls upon arrival. The family
takes their own straw, hay, and
silage mix to supplement the
hulls for bedding.
They will also place a call to
the veterinarian to make sure
their animals have the proper
vaccinations and shots before
making the trip.
Since schoolwork and regular
farm work takes up much of
their time, the Hoovers look to
Christmas vacation as the key
time of preparation.
“Each time we take them out
we practice setting them,” said
Aaron. He is looking forward to
the gaining more show ring expe
Seeing other top cows and
comparing them to his own
amimals is one aspect of the
show that Brad is looking for
ward to.
Brad and Aaron learned first
hand about the difficulty of mov
ing their animals through the
crowds, “especially when you
have one that’s flighty,” said
Even though preparation may
take large amounts of time and
thought, the Farm Show experi
ence is worth the trouble, say the
“It’s not all work,” said Brad.
“We also had a lot of fun.”