Laura and her Lambs – Guest Post

Today we are doing something a little different here at COUNTRY LINKed.  Today we have a guest on our blog, Laura, a young woman who shared her 4-H sheep story with me and I in turn want to share it with you.  Here is the story of Laura and her lambs:

Laura helping out a future  showman during the country fair Peewee sheep show.

Laura helping out a future showman during the country fair Pee Wee sheep show.

Like many kids in her local community, Laura was more than ready to start her 4-H career at the age of eight.  “My first lamb was named Willie the Weather and I could not wait to be eight so that I could start showing sheep,” says Laura.  From 1998 to 2013, Laura has exhibited, shown and sold sheep at her local country fair as a 4-H and FFA member.

Her family was already raising Suffolk sheep, so it was a natural fit for her to begin raising some of her own and following in her dad’s footsteps as a showmen.  “Right off I learned responsibility and hard work from taking care of my animals from the time they were babies up until it was show time.  I have learned what is best for my animals in order to get them looking their best at all times.”

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Laura and her dad, Larry, one of her biggest supporters.

“My biggest supporters have been my parents by far. No matter what they were always there to help with whatever questions I had or tasks I needed help with.  It is always an awesome feeling to look in the crowd at a show and see my parents and grandma cheering me on. Also, I could not ask for a better show partner than my sister, Maggie.  She does a lot as well.  We always have a great time in and out of the show ring.”

Like most who choose to show livestock, Laura has a memory that she will never forget regarding her sheep and wanted to share it.  “In August of 2010 we had everything loaded and ready to go to the Missouri State Fair for 5 days.  Which is a farm kids vacation if you ask me! It is probably the show that I like attending the most, because there is lots of competition and you get to see exactly where your animals stand against others from all over the state.  It had been really hot all day as we were getting loaded, however it cooled off right before we loaded the sheep.  We thought this is great, so off we headed.  The closer to Sedalia that we got the hotter it got. We got behind a slow-moving spray coop along the way and ran into some traffic in Sedalia.  As we pulled up to the Sheep barn at the fairgrounds, the state vets were right there checking in sheep as they came off of trailers.  Sheep don’t handle heat very well and my sister got out of the truck real quick so we could start checking the sheep in and Mom, Dad and I were right behind her. She opened the trailer gate and got in, but came right back out crying hysterically!  We didn’t know why, just that and she kept saying “They’re Dead, They’re Dead!”.  Then we saw what it was. Two of our ewe lambs, out of five in the trailer, were dead. The vets jumped in and took pulses and tried to see if there was a way to save them, but there wasn’t.  Two of the best ewe lambs we had ever had were dead.  My whole family and I were crying by then and we didn’t know what to do.  Many other people who were around, helped us get the others off the trailer and all of our tack and stuff unloaded too.  All my sister and I wanted to do was go home!  It was the worst feeling ever.  We were very attached to “Peach and Pear” (the names of the ewe lambs), but Dad told us as we all held each other in a hug that we couldn’t go home because it was so hot, and that it could kill the others if we did.  The vets at the Missouri State Fair that were there for us were so kind and helpful.  Many sad tears were shed that year but it brought our family even closer than what we are, if that is possible.”

This experience did not stop Laura from showing and she encourages others to  start showing as well, “Through my years of showing I have learned so many things!   It is such a great way to grow and become a very honest, hard-working, responsible young person.  I know that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the sheep industry, 4-H and FFA.”

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Laura giving her speech at the Premium Sale.

This summer marked the final county fair for Laura as a youth exhibitor, because of this, she decided to support a fellow 4-H family by donating the proceeds from the sale of her market lamb to them to help with medical expenses they are facing.  “I chose this family to receive the proceeds from the sale of my final lamb because there is no doubt in my mind that Keith would have done the same thing for us.”

Here is the speech Laura gave before the selling of her lamb, “Hi! My name is Laura.  For 13 years I have been lucky enough to sell a lamb in this premium sale, so I would like to thank everyone who bought my lambs or bid on my lambs.  I have done lots of things with my money through the years.  I have saved it, bought a car with it, and if you know me very well you know I have bought a few clothes with it, helped pay feed bills with it, and paid for some of my college with it.  So here I am 21 years old and my car is paid for, I just graduated from college, Maggie says under no circumstances can I buy more clothes, and Dad you can handle the feed bill right?  So that’s why I have decided to give 100% of my premium sale money this year to Keith and his family.  I can’t remember a time that Keith hasn’t been willing to do and give to many of us.  So lets join together and give back to Keith!  Thank you!”

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A very big hug from one of Keith’s sons, Jeffrey.

In all Laura was able to raise $5900 in one evening for this family.  Keith has been through a lot in regard to his health.  Thankfully he is now again at home and able to walk on his own.  Huge progress has been made and for that, both families are very thankful!

Now that her showing days at the county fair are over, Laura has plans for a full and happy life close to family and the farm. “I now have a full-time job and I enjoy it a lot!  I still live on the farm and help each and every day with chores.  I hope to some day get married and have kids and raise them on or near the farm so they can be taught the same qualities I was taught.  I truly believe there is no place like home and I am proud to say that I live in North Central Missouri!”

Thank you Laura for sharing your story with me and allowing me to share it with others.  Your dedication, hard work, compassion and heart all played a part in your sheep showing experience and really showed through on the night of the sale.  Best of luck to you as you begin a new chapter of your life.

Blessings to you and to Keith and his family,

Laurie – Country Link

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36 comments on “Laura and her Lambs – Guest Post

  1. Deb says:

    Wow! What a gal! Thanks to both of you for sharing this story.

    • Thanks! Was a pleasure to tell her story and share what a great young woman Laura is.

    • Laura Almond says:

      Thank you so much!! I am so appreciative of Laurie doing my story. Hopefully this will inspire others to get their children involved in Agriculture. I enjoy seeing all the kind words everyone has 🙂

      • Keep doing what you do Laura! Never stop being the kind, caring person that you are. Believe it or not, but I saw Keith today! He was looking really good. Very nice to see him out and about with his family.

  2. Deb says:

    And…….the pictures spoke a thousand words!

  3. What a GREAT story – and what a GREAT kid! Another example of what sort of kids are being produced from agriculture. I wonder if her mom has had to defend the reason why she has been given so much responsibility :). And to think there are agencies in DC who want nothing more than to take this away from our kids. I just don’t understand.
    PS-it did bring a tear to my eye!

    • Thank you Tracy! This brought back many memories of my showing days. I can not even imagine what it would be like if kids were not able to help on the farm or raise their own livestock. Laura’s story is like so many and they all need to be told.

      I had tears in my eyes trying to get it typed up!

      • Laura Almond says:

        Laurie you did a great job with this and I have cried each time I read it! What can we say, we are a little emotional here in North Central Missouri too but that’s okay!!! You and I have it genetically both of our mothers are VERY emotional haha! Thanks Again

      • These relationships that we bring to the table with these blogs are amazing! I think we should have one big ag blog convention so we could meet everyone!

      • Count me in Tracy!! There are so many I would love to meet and to just have a face to face chat with.

    • Laura Almond says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words and I completely agree with your comments! Spread the word about agriculture, so many people don’t have a clue, and do no realize that farmers feed them each and every day!

      • I am doing what I can!! It’s people like you who give me hope of what the next generation will and can do! You made my heart happy!

      • Laura Almond says:

        I had no idea that I could move so many people. All I do is be myself and do my best. Dad tells me I am awesome each time I get done choreing everyday. (He has had knee surgery and is on crutches for 4-6 weeks. Cannot do what he usually does and that’s hard on him) I reply to him by telling him I just do my best and he says that’s all we can do.

      • You’re so right!! Just do your best and never, EVER give up! One word I hate more than any other is the word impossible.

  4. Kurt says:

    Excellent!

  5. Love this story. There are so many kids growing up on farms working and showing livestock that learn life lessons far beyond their years. Thank you to everyone involved for sharing this story!

  6. Donna says:

    Great story Laura! Thanks Laurie for sharing it. We have a great bunch of kids who are raised in north MO and raised on farms.

  7. Molly Parks says:

    I love this girl and her story. She is so sweet to everyone and that is such an incredible quality. Her future showman is really cute! 🙂

  8. Monica says:

    Laura is a true gem. Her family is one of the most generous, kindest, hard-working families in our county. Her dedication to people in general in combination with her bright spirit provide the youth of this country a role model that they can look up to and depend on. Agriculture and the last name Almond go hand-in-hand! Thank you Laura for showing the Baker Boys what it means to be a farm kid!

  9. Laura Almond says:

    I have never blogged much before. Just this here is all I have done. All I have is pintrest and facebook. Thought about twitter but don’t have a clue how to tweet lol. I like talking on country LINKed!

  10. Emily Grace says:

    This was a very real ag read – young girl growing up, loss of loved livestock, giving back. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Anne Claire says:

    Nice to see a young country girl nurture her passion for animals and farm life, and carry that with her into adulthood. Thanks for sharing your touching story, Laura!

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