Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
For many farm kids raising, showing, and selling the family’s chosen livestock is an expected part of life.
This is certainly true for Winfield-Mount Union students and siblings Eli and Katie Miller who cannot remember a time they did not know where the meat on the dinner table was coming from.
It was not uncommon to know the name of the beef on their plates.
Now, it may be said that one should not name an animal they will eventually eat, but these siblings have named every cattle they have shown despite sometimes keeping the meat for the family.
“It’s like an honor at our house to get to eat your calf,” Katie said.
“It’s like an argument in our house about which one we get to eat,” Eli said.
With all that in mind, Katie says that they have not been able to keep the beef from any of her show calves, yet.
So, Eli currently claims to have the best tasting beef in their home.
“It’s what you feed them,” Eli said of making delicious tasting beef.
According to Eli, in order to produce a fatter beef they need to be fed more and for longer durations of time.
To keep the beef more lean the cattle require a more restricted amount of food and duration of feeding time.
For Katie’s eighth-grade year of 4-H she will show her heifer, Shakira, at the Henry County Fair this July.
Eli will show his steer, Ralph for his 10th grade year.
The siblings have been involved with 4-H program since starting with the Clover Kids Club in kindergarten.
From bottle calves to Eli’s carcass show-winning steer, the Miller siblings have put in a great deal of hard work.
To prepare their cattle for show Eli and Katie Miller are sure to chore every morning and every night.
“We give them grain and hay and make sure their water is clean and make sure they’re not sick,” Eli Miller said. “We check for running noses, laying down, drooping eyes, and coughs.”
Katie puts in the work but has really enjoyed the social components of participating in 4-H.
“It is really fun to see everyone else at the cattle shows,” Katie Miller said. “I like getting to be around animals and my friends all the time.”
Eli also enjoys meeting new people at the fair and hanging out with his friends.
For the Miller family it is simply tradition to camp for the week at the Henry County Fair as Katie and Eli care for and show their cattle.
The Miller siblings plan to keep showing cattle.
However, they do each have a favorite calf they have shown thus far.
Helen the Heifer was Katie’s favorite while Callie the Calico Cow, who still is being bred on the Miller family farm, is Eli’s.
“She is a pretty blue color,” Eli said of Callie. “And she gives good calves.”
“I spent a lot more time with her since it was COVID,” Katie said of Helen. “I took her to a lot more shows because there wasn’t really anything else going on.”
Helen did well enough at the fair for Katie Miller to earn the honor of showing her at the regional Final Drive.
Unfortunately, Helen was not able to breed and has since been sold to a locker, but did not make an appearance at the Miller dinner table.
For Katie and Eli its all just a part of life and in their experience naming your dinner is not always a bad thing, in fact, most times it is downright delicious.