Empowering Youth in Agriculture: How Charlotte's Love for Sheep Shaped Her Future

“Charlotte loves her animals, but her first love was sheep. It was our first year at the Fryeburg Fair, and we brought 21 sheep with us. She’s been showing for years, but this year was a biggie for her.

Every day, she has to make sure her sheep have fresh water. It's her project. We make sure she's filling grain buckets and taking on other related responsibilities because we want the animals to know she is feeding them.

When we go to shows, they seem to behave better for her. She’s gotten showmanship in beef and sheep. We always joke that she is going to be the stinky kid at school, because she’s always doing chores. But she loves it. It’s a family thing.

She just started the 4-H program, which supports and educates Maine and New Hampshire youth in various fields of agriculture. We wanted her to have all the opportunities. She’s made a lot of friends there and learned the importance of good sportsmanship.

Those kids get up at 4:30AM and take care of animals every single day, not just for the fair season. They don't get to walk throughout the fair and eat cotton candy. She didn’t get on one single ride the entire time we were at the fair. She had no interest. She wanted to be with her animals and that was amazing to see.

Through all of this, she has also learned the importance of detachment. She’s probably seen more death in her life than the average person would see in their lifetime. Stuff happens at farms. Animals die. Babies are born. It’s allowed her to see all of that stuff and realize how it all goes down. I think that will help her later in life. It’s building skills for her future. It’s huge.

As for us, well we love what we do, but it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done. It’s more than work. It’s a passion for us. This is our first year trying to get our own farm business, WKC Livestock, off the ground and running. And Charlotte? Well, she’s pretty happy the farm name includes all of our initials.”

— Charlotte's parents, William and Kimberly Choate.