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“She’s always loved animals,” Kathryn Goodman’s mom, Maelynda, said as she watched her daughter feed cattle.
Kathryn has her own herd of five, soon to be seven, head of cattle.
“She’s done it all herself and I’m so, so proud of her,” Maelynda said.
Mom is proud because her 16-year-old daughter acquired the grants and loans to purchase and care for a herd of Hereford show cattle.
A Central Hardin High School student and FFA member, Kathryn showed her cattle in five counties and three states, earning 35 to 40 awards this season, her first season showing cattle.
It all started with an interest in cows and encouragement from others.
On her second day of agriculture class her advisor told her about a livestock grant. She applied for it and received $400 to go toward her first heifer.
She bought her first cow, Annabelle, from Hansel Pile Jr. who also shows cows. Pile allows Kathryn to work on his farm to earn the feed for her herd, allowing her to spend her money on other things needed for showing cattle.
Her first show with Annabelle didn’t go so well because Annabelle wanted to lead Kathryn around the ring instead of Kathryn leading Annabelle. After that experience she almost quit but stuck with it, building a trust with the cow until it began to cooperate. Kathryn even laid on the cow as it slept sometimes while visiting arenas during show season.
Kathryn became involved with the Cattleman’s Association and found out she could get loans to expand her herd. With a loan she added four more cows. One cow will calve in October and another was artificially inseminated in hopes of producing another calf, expanding her heard to seven cows.
The cows mean a lot to Kathryn.
“I get to see them grow and develop into producers,” she said.
Kathryn hopes to go to the University of Kentucky to major in agriculture business. Her goal is to work in the cattle industry and travel the world to talk about all aspects of the industry.
It’s not just about what you see in the grocery meat section, she said.
FFA advisor Derek Smith admires Kathryn's drive and determination to succeed.
"Not many high school students take on such a responsibility as Kathryn has," he said.
She has not only worked hard to build her herd so quickly, she will have many connections throughout the livestock industry, he said.
"It won't be hard for her to pursue her dream career after college," Smith said.
Usually, Kathryn spends 45 minutes a day brushing, feeding and talking to the cows. But when it’s time to show cattle she spends a lot of time training them to be led around a ring so they’ll be calm during competition.
Along with her cows she also has a donkey named Rosebud she acquired from a rescue out West. The donkey helps break the cattle for showing. A lead is attached from the cow to the donkey. The cow is then lead around the field calmly by the donkey. Rosebud also comes in handy in keeping coyotes away, Kathryn said
Before she became interested in cows, she had horses and pigs.
Her love of animals began in 4-H and continues through her involvement in FFA.
“Without FFA I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now because I would have never had thought there were grants out there to help a little high schooler be a part of such a big industry,” Kathryn said.
When she’s not showing cattle, she hangs out with friends, rides four wheelers, goes mudding, hunts dear, fishes and watches movies.
While some boys think a girl owning a heard of cattle is a bit weird, most think it’s cool and admit they couldn’t do it, she said.
There’s a lot that goes into controlling a 2,500-pound animal during a show, she said.
Sometimes when she’s showing cattle it’s hard to do normal teenage activities like going to the pool but she likes the motivation it gives her to succeed.
“Most 16-year-olds don’t have to worry about five big animals,” she said. “Six animals counting the donkey.”
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or email@example.com.
Getting to know Kathryn Goodman:
Movie: "Sweet Home Alabama"
TV: "Duck Dynasty"
Church: Rough Creek Baptist Church
Favorite cow: Annabelle, her first.
Hobbies: Hunting and fishing
Pets: Dusty the Yorkie, Lady the Labrador and Rosebud the donkey