For this Aroostook farm family, raising steer began with a prize-winning essay
Mike Umphrey was a junior in high school when he entered and won a Sears & Roebuck agriculture essay contest more than 50 years ago.
First prize? A pure breed heifer calf.
“I entered that contest because I was in Future Farmers of America and 4-H,” the retired Aroostook County farmer and potato broker said. “That cow started my dairy business.”
Now, a half century later, Umphrey is watching his grandchildren raise their own bulls as part of the Aroostook Valley 4-H Baby Beef Club.
And while neither 4-H nor FFA attract the numbers of students they once did in northern Maine, Umphrey said the lessons participating in those programs teaches have remained the same.
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