Elroy Fair is a family effort

Clark siblings show seven animals

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ELROY, Wis. – The beginning of summer is a busy time of year for dairy farmers as they work to get planting done and bring in that first crop of hay. For the Clark family, this time also includes showing animals at various fairs.
“I’ve been showing at the Elroy Fair for the last five years,” Peyton Clark said. “This will be my last year.”
Peyton, 20, was joined by two of her siblings, brother Payne,18, and sister Payge, 15, at the Elroy Fair June 22-26 in Juneau County near Elroy.
Their parents, Todd and Tracy, milk 30 cows near Wilton along with the rest of the children Payjah, 12, and Payson, 10.
The siblings said it takes the effort of the entire family to make showing animals at the fair possible. Their parents take on chore responsibilities at home that would otherwise be the kids’ responsibility.
When Peyton is not showing at the fair, she is normally in charge of feeding calves, bringing cows in from the pasture and feeding grain in the stanchion barn, while Payne runs corn silage out of the silo for the cows. Payne is also involved in the farm’s fieldwork, helping his dad put up small square bales of hay, producing haylage and chopping corn silage. Payge fills in whenever the others are not available, often starting calf chores for Peyton. She also prepares meals for the family while her parents are busy farming.
The farm is also home to a herd of 80 beef cows. The family farms 350 acres of cropland.
Seven animals made up the Clark family’s show string this year. Peyton brought a dry cow and a 3-year-old cow. The 3-year-old was selected based on her body type and temperament, while the dry cow has previous experience being shown.
“I’ve been showing her every year at this fair since I started,” Peyton said. “She is kind of a pet cow.”
Payge showed a milking yearling. This heifer was raised at the farm.
“She is really docile,” Payge said. “She is short but has good dairy qualities.”
Payge also showed a spring calf that was selected because she was a homegrown animal. For the past few months, Payge has trained the calf by walking her with the halter. The calf was also washed every day for the three days leading up to the fair. Payne brought a 2-year old cow, a dry cow and a yearling heifer.
A fun aspect for the Clarks is the involvement of their extended family. Their cousin, Jaden Dreier, showed with them this year. They also have help from their grandma.
Peyton’s dry cow delivered her calf at the fair, surprising the whole family.
“It was definitely exciting because we were not expecting it,” Peyton said. “Since she calved at the Elroy Fair, I decided to name the calf Ellie.”
The siblings said the best thing about the Elroy Fair is the environment.
“It’s fun to get together with farm friends and hang out with other farm kids,” Payne said.
Peyton agreed.
“Everyone is friendly and respectful,” Peyton said. “It’s a lot of work, but we all work at it together.”

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