April 17 2023 08:32 AM

Four years in college has changed me and my old show cow, too.

My show cow from my 4-H days, Caliope, has started to change and age right before my eyes.
College has been so busy the last year or so, and I realized I hadn’t seen my beloved show cow from my 4-H days in quite some time. So, when I finally got to visit her and help milk the other day, it was such a special time. My show cow from my 4-H days, Caliope, has started to change and age right before my eyes.

The last time I showed her was as a 6-year-old in 2019, so that would put her at about 10 years old now. For some reason in my mind, I thought she would look relatively the same as she had all those years ago, but her age and several lactations are starting to catch up to her.

I saw her for the first time in a while the other day, and it was nice to see her still thriving!

It was really a thrilling experience, even if she looked a bit older. She still milks 100 pounds of milk per day and has several successful daughters in the herd.

Things are really starting to change for me, too, as I finish my final month as a college student at the University of Minnesota. I have been on the hunt for a job in agricultural communications and it hasn’t been easy, but thanks to the many experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met, the effort has been a little more manageable. I never really noticed the time passing and how much I’ve changed these past four years, but it has come time to face the reality.

Time gone by is hard to come to terms with, I am starting to learn. I’ll be moving away from my friends, starting a career, and watching my favorite cow continue to age. It’s comforting to know that some things will stay the same, though. I’ll still have the same friends, and for the time being, my cow will continue to rock the milking parlor.

Mikayla Peper

Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper served as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.