Leah Evans has made a habit of doing things her way. Her mom was raised on a hog farm, her dad raised in town, but from the minute she received two bucket-bottle calves as a fourth-grader, she knew she found her calling in the beef industry.
“Before I started 4-H, I found this love for cattle. Who knew where it came from,” she said.
A family friend gave her two bucket-bottle calves to start. Once she proved to her parents she could take care of them, she returned those to the friend and her parents bought her two more. Slowly, she began growing her empire and buying her own cattle until one day in sixth grade when she decided she wanted to do something a little different.
“I started buying my own and then while I was in sixth grade, I saw an RFD-TV commercial that had Red Angus on it and I said I want to have Red Angus,” she said. “That’s what I want to show.”
With the help of her parents, she found a guy in Riverside who helped her get her start. She began with two and has now grown her herd to 130 head. Being a 17-year-old with an empire to run is not easy, but Evans said there’s nothing she would rather be doing.
She made it to one football game so far this year and does not do any extracurricular activities. People have told her she will regret that decision of not making memories, but she disagrees. Instead, she says she will regret the time she spent at social activities because her heart is back home in the barn with her cattle.
“That stuff will be a memory but I think I’ll regret going to it instead of being out there on the farm,” she said. “I’d rather just be outside working.”
Working on the farm is her favorite activity because of who she gets to do it with.
“It’s not just working, it’s working with your family that I have learned (to appreciate),” she said. “We came together so much better than we ever have before.”
Her younger brothers pitch in on the farm as well. She appreciates being able to work alongside them to divide and conquer and get everything accomplished. Being a positive example is something she strives to do daily. Evans says she was raised to help other people and part of that is being supportive of other kids her age.
“They need to have someone that looks up to them,” she said. “I want to be that person that’s just always one phone call away.”
Evans continues to be a role model for young farmers across the state as she is a member of the Iowa Junior Beef Breeds Association, treasurer for the Washington FFA and the 2018 Washington Beef Queen. When she first got her bucket calves as a kid, she had no idea she would find her calling but now, at 17, she’s glad she did.
“I would honestly promote beef every day if I could,” she said. “The cattle industry is my home. It’s where I belong.”