Moffat County woman starts her herd with merit
CRAIG — A cattlewoman from Moffat County is among three young people from Colorado — and one of 25 from across the west — to compete in this year’s Northern International Livestock Exposition Merit Heifer Show.
“Going to the NILE is going to be really fun,” said Moffat County High School sophomore Payton Voloshin.
Last year, Voloshin won the opportunity to participate in the NILE program.
“We see about 50 applications each year, and we select 25. It’s a competitive process, and it’s very prestigious,” said NILE Merit Heifer program coordinator Shelby Shaw.
The program, which started in 2000, gives youth a leg up in the beef industry by helping them start, or build, a breeding herd of cattle.
Recipients are paired with an established breeder that donates a heifer. Then youth are provided a rigorous program for learning about, and networking in, the industry, and their cows are bred.
“It’s very exciting. It’s new, and later on in life, I’ll have something to make a profit off of,” Voloshin said.
Camblin Livestock donated one of its purebred Angus heifers, which Voloshin named Nixie.
“Our youngest daughter received one in 2014. We really like the program and wanted to be sponsors,” said Maybell cattlewoman Danna Camblin.
Voloshin’s involvement in cattle projects through 4-H and Future Farmers of America cattle was essential in securing her spot in the NILE program.
“We make it mandatory. We like to see the experience that they have had through 4-H and FFA. We like to see the heifer be part of their beef project. We like to see how their project has grown once the original cow has started producing,” Shaw said.
National 4‑H Week — Oct. 1 through 7 — is a time when youth showcase the experiences 4‑H offers. In Moffat County, 4-H is overseen by the Moffat County Extension Office.
“I think 4-H is very beneficial. It keeps kids active and teaches them responsibility,” Camblin said. “Payton is a good, hard-working girl. She has put a lot of time and effort into her heifer, and she is looking to succeed in whatever she desires to do.”
Later this month the Camblins, Voloshins and their cattle will travel to Billings, Montana for the 50th anniversary NILE Show.
Camblin’s daughter will show her NILE progeny pen — the original cow and her offspring.
After the progeny parade, Voloshin and Nixie, along with the other 24 heifer recipients, will go through an interview process with representatives from the cattle industry, present their record books for a grade and participate in a show and a showmanship contest.
“We don’t get vacation time. We get show-cation time,” said Voloshin, who is looking forward to meeting others from the program.
The show audience will have the option to participate in a Calcutta, in which bets are placed to pick the donor breeder with the best heifer in the show. The money raised supports NILE youth programs.
For people unable to attend in person, the show will be telecast at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 on liveauctions.tv.
Voloshin and Nixie aim to finish their first year together with a big win.
“She has taken a heifer calf from a fabulous donor who has had a child in the program; she has taken it across the western United States. She has completed financial reports and given herself a better financial basis for developing her project. Payton has excelled in the project,” Shaw said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.