BERRIEN SPRINGS — About 23 combined years of showing animals prepared the winners of this year’s beef and dairy contests at the Berrien County Youth Fair.
One of those winners was Kaylee Shuler, 14, who won the dairy showmanship trophy Wednesday and was on hand Friday when the gallon of milk from June, her award winning cow, was auctioned off.
The milk auction is an annual tradition at the fair, with the gallon arriving with a police escort.
The gallon of June’s milk was sold for $3,000. Fifty percent goes to Kaylee, a soon-to-be freshman at Bridgman High School, and the other 50 percent goes to the dairy barn. That’s how the barn is maintained each year.
“I think the sale went pretty well. I was pretty excited with how much I got for it being my first year taking the Grand Champion Dairy animal,” Kaylee said. “I hope to keep winning and next year is just as good as this year.”
She said she has been showing with her family at Shuler Dairy Farms in Baroda for nine years.
The Shulers have been opening their farm to area youth for many years, providing them the chance to show dairy cows at the fair.
The gallon of milk went for $7,300 last year, and that was a Shuler cow as well. The year before that it went for $5,300.
Kyle Rogers, who won the Grand Champion Beef title, said he noticed market prices were low this year compared to previous years.
Rogers, 20, of Niles, sold his 1,350-pound cow Friday for $3.50 a pound, raising $4,725 total.
“It’d be nice to get a little bit more support for everyone else, but luckily I had the Grand Champion and we had a nice buyers group,” he said. “So we were able to sell well above market price, but for everyone else it’s looking a little rough.”
The large animal auction capped off the week of showing animals at the fair.
Rogers said he has been showing animals at the fair since he was 6 years old.
“I started with hogs and turkeys, then in 2012 I got involved with cattle. It’s always been a dream of mine to show a Grand Champion steer and I finally got here,” he said.
Rogers said his favorite part of showing at the fair each year is raising the animals.
“Getting up every morning and washing twice a day. It’s fun,” he said.
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