By Jonathan Gordon SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – It makes perfect sense that the country’s most prestigious Dairy Cattle event would be held in Syracuse. The New York Spring Dairy Carousel is the largest cattle show and the one with the highest honor in the United States and Canada.
The number one industry in New York State is dairy and the city of Syracuse is especially known for its excellent milk, cheeses and yogurt.
The main event takes place on Monday, where the holstein are judged and winners for best cow are picked.
Patsy Gifford, the Executive Manager of the American Holstein Association said that judges look for a straight backbone, sturdy and balanced legs and big udders.
Holsteins (hole-steens) is another name for the large breed of dairy cattle that typically have a black and white pattern. More than 1,000 cattle showed up to the carousel this weekend. With handlers and owners coming to compete from 19 different states and parts of Canada.
In total, 32 different cattle won and came away with a ribbon. Winning means that the cow is worth more (milk, eggs/sperm) and that there will be a better quality of dairy on the market.
“Do you drink a glass of milk in the morning? If so, it came from a cow. Did you have cheese on your sandwich? Yeah? It came from a cow. It’s really cool to me because I feel like I help put food out there for America,” said Miranda Iager.
Miranda is only 15 years old, but has been working with holsteins her entire life. She says living on a farm in Maryland is tough work, but rewarding.
“Most 15 years old like to sit at home, watch TV, play on the computer, just be lazy and do nothing. Where I can come out here, go work with my animals, come to a show, win and do really good,” said Iager.
A normal day for her begins at 5 a.m. where she feeds her animals including her winning heifer Lucky (a heifer is a cow that has not given birth yet).
She then goes to school all day, comes home to clean, train and spend time with her animals, washes up, eats dinner and goes to bed around midnight. She repeats this every weekday.
But in the end, her hard work is paying off as she came away with the Junior Championship, but according to her, the most rewarding part is being able to contribute to her family’s business on the farm.