Name: Jessica Mantel
Hometown: Mountain View, Mo.
Parents: Rob and Shelly Mantel
4-H Club: Rockin’ Ranchers, advisors: Juli and John Oravec
How are you involved in agriculture?
“I raise a steer and sell for the profit at the local fair. This is my second year raising a steer and it’s been a lot of fun. We have a beef farm and I buy one of our steers from my dad from the babies the year before. We have Angus Simmental cross calves.” Jessica helps out at the family farm by helping feed grain, picking rocks and occasionally feeding bottle calves. She’ll also help work the gates and take records as her dad works the herd.
What associations are you involved with in agriculture?
“I am a member of the Rockin’ Ranchers 4-H club and will probably join FFA when I get old enough,” she said. Jessica will be entering 8th grade next school year at Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty.
What is the best part of growing up on a farm?
“I enjoy getting to be outside and in the country. Living in the country is much more private and I like being around the animals on the farm. It definitely makes me more responsible having chores and working on the farm. City kids don’t generally know how to act around animals and I am lucky to have learned that.” The Mantels have around 100 head of momma cows and Jessica helps on the farm when she’s not busy with her many other activities. “Right now I have track practice but I help my dad when I can.”
Advice for other youth?
“Showing steers is a lot of fun. It is lots of work, but when you get to go to the fair, it’s all worth it. I like being with the other kids, getting to wash my steer and just having fun,” she said. “You still have to take care of the animals while you are at the fair, but it’s a blast.” Jessica says she tries not to get too attached to her animals. “I sell my steer at the Heart of the Ozarks Fair in West Plains and sometimes it’s hard to let them go,” she reasoned, “but last year after all the expenses, I made around $700, so that was a good start.”
By Stephanie Moody