That tiny farmer in the dell has a proud story to tell

Last week we watched small children guide carefully raised cows around the ring at the Shawano County Fair and caught a glimpse of what makes Wisconsin family farms so special.

“What’s your favorite thing to do at the fair,” asked the cheerful MC.

In the shadow of the midway, where rides, games and deep-fried Oreo cookies beckoned, almost every child said the same thing.

“I love to walk my cow.”

The thrill of pacing a large animal that you’ve raised in obscurity, rising early to bottle feed and staying up late to brush and train, can be contagious. All of the tiny participants beamed as they stood facing judges, family, friends and potential buyers.

We have a precious resource in this country and we need to protect it. Behind every beautiful red barn along a rural landscape lives an even more beautiful and often multi-generational farm family.

Battling age-old threats like weather and weeds, and worrisome new ones like encroaching mega farms, family farms endure and sometimes even thrive thanks to the work ethic and good old American chutzpah of their owners.

It behooves people like me, who buy their produce picked and their meat cellophaned, to understand our food source and to take a moment or two to thank the people who work so hard to protect it.

It’s harvest season in America. Let’s all thank a family farmer. Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures of the cutest farmers and cows you’ll ever see.

Sweet little girl
These little ones had to wait patiently through an entire auction before they were able to walk their calves. Patience is one of the many lessons little dairy cow breeders learn. How cute is this little peanut?
cow and Opie
The children spend a tremendous amount of time raising and grooming their animals. They develop a real bond and may even start to look alike Also, I’m somewhat partial to the redheads.
Stubborn cow
It can be hard work, but they all, cows and children, enjoyed the show.
Little boy and his calf
Asked about their favorite thing to do at the fair, almost everyone said, “Walk my cow.”
The interview
There’s an interview portion that I really enjoyed.
Cute kids and cows
It’s hard to say who is cuter, the calves or their owners. Some of the littler contestants had some help from older family members.
Showing the calf
They all did an excellent job showing off their hard work.
Sweet little girl and her cow
Seriously, is these the cutest cow and child pair you’ve ever seen? Treat yourself to county fair and see a little American pride in action.

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