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Sisters learn about life cycle, responsibility

By Dana Hantel

The Youth Livestock Show and Auction is tonight and tomorrow, and we’ve  explored the importance of youth agriculture programs and local farming in general in this three-part series.

Kicking off the events will be the Market Rabbit and Poultry shows at 4 p.m. today.

The Market Cattle, Lamb Goat and Hog shows will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, with the Livestock Auction beginning at 6 p.m.

We previously featured  Kody Fowler, Hannah Maxwell and Marina Maxwell, all college students who have benefited from years of working on farms and being involved in programs like 4-H and FFA. Fowler donates rabbits to children getting started with their agricultural projects.

Among these recipients were the McCormick girls, Kalla and Danni, who live down the road from Kody.

Kalla and Danni have been involved with farming to some extent their whole lives because their dad, Chad McCormick, raises hogs. Chad said while hogs are the primary focus of the business now, they have raised a  variety of animals over the years. Their family farm is home to as many as 200 animals at any given time.

In addition to caring for animals, Kalla has been  showing livestock for four years. When asked what she enjoys most about farm life, she ponders the question a moment before replying that she “loves the animals” and appreciates being able to “see the cycle of life.” She said raising animals has taught her many things, such as “responsibility, taking care of things.”

Danni McCormick with a goat on her family’s farm in Morgantown. The farm is home to as many as 200 animals at any given time.

The most difficult part of farming, she said, is “losing an animal.” This isn’t surprising, since her favorite part of farming is that she loves the animals, but the answer surprised her dad, who expected her to talk about assorted cold-weather challenges endured by farmers.

“Winter is hard,” Chad said, describing going out into the dark, cold mornings to take care of animals and deal with wintertime issues like frozen water buckets. He adds matter-of-factly but proudly that Kalla “has been carrying 50-pound bags of feed since she was 6 years old.”

Danni, 12, was relatively quiet during the phone interview, and her dad said  she was taking in the conversation while combing her dog. Her favorite part of farm life:    “it’s really fun living on a farm and being outside.”

Chad said he’s more of “a farmer type,” viewing the animals as a responsibility and a food source, whereas for his daughters, the animals are “more like pets.” He said  even as they enjoy themselves, they’re learning all kinds of things they don’t even realize they’re learning. For example, he said farming requires a person to be “on time, efficient and patient.”

Along with teaching the girls lessons, farming also shapes their outlooks for the future. After high school, Kalla intends “to go to college and become a veterinarian,” and then open her own veterinary practice.

According to Jennifer Turner, a member of the Monongalia County Fair Youth Livestock Show and Auction Committee, “Over the past several years, we have watched an amazing group of young men and women grow up in the program and become productive members of our community. This program is forming your future leaders, and their success is evident with their achievements during the shows.”

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This is the third and final installment in a three-part series focusing on those who participate in The Youth Livestock Show and Auction. Read part one HERE and part two HERE
The show is set for tonight and Saturday at the Monongalia Extension Services & 4-H Center — . The full schedule can be found at