The Show Stopper

Payton learned about the youth loan program from some customers of her family’s cattle operation.

By Megan Downing, Indiana Farm Service Agency

Payton Farmer recent high school graduate from Brownstown, Indiana, hit the cattle show circuit with her heifers and has started a strong foundation for her herd.

Leading Miss Macy

It all started with a heifer named Macy and a high schooler with a dream. In October 2015, Payton Farmer received a youth loan from USDA’s Farm Service Agency to purchase Macy, a breeding heifer, and began building her herd.

FSA offers loans to young people to start and operate income-producing projects in connection to their participation in 4-H, FFA, a tribal youth group, or similar agricultural youth organization.

Payton learned about the youth loan program from some customers of her family’s cattle operation.

“I think the loan process is a great idea for anyone who wants to help themselves build credit, learn the loan process, business skills and responsibility,” Payton said. “It can help you grow your herd and hopefully, in the long run, help you make more money.”

During the 2015-2016 cattle show season, Payton enjoyed much success exhibiting Macy. She knew her work would one day pay big returns. This year, Payton plans to begin flushing embryos from Macy to maximize her impact on improving the breed’s genetics. Once a cow is bred through artificial insemination, embryos are flushed out and can be transferred to a donor cow.

With Payton taking the lead, Macy was ranked the fourth-overall individual at both the Decatur County Battle and the Bartholomew County Open show, champion Hereford numerous times, and class winner at the Hereford Junior Nationals.

Payton and Macy won many showmanship classes at the various open shows they participated in culminating with the achievement of Payton winning Senior Showmanship at the Indiana State Fair. Showmanship recognizes an exhibitor’s knowledge and care of their animals.

Macy is now the mother to a heifer named Isabella, a new lineage in Payton’s growing cattle herd.

In 2015, Payton received a youth loan from Farm Service Agency to purchase a breeding heifer and began building her herd.

Round Two

Payton repaid her first youth loan in the summer of 2018. In the fall, she acquired her second youth loan and purchased a Maine-Anjou heifer, named Coco Chanel. She and Coco Chanel hit the road to several jackpot shows as well as the Junior Nationals.

Coco Chanel is already garnering a lot of interest and Payton hopes to have as much or more success with this heifer as she did with Macy.

“The biggest lesson I learned from the youth loan program is good repayment practices and becoming familiar with the loan process,” Payton added.

What the Future Holds

Payton will attend Oklahoma State University in the fall with plans to become a dental hygienist.

She said the knowledge and responsibility she gained through owning her own cattle herd will help her succeed in her future endeavors.

“It’s taught me how to run a small business at a young age,” she concluded. “My ultimate goal is to continue to raise and show cattle, to continue to grow my herd, and focus on the quality of my animals. I honestly can’t imagine not raising cattle.”

Payton won many showmanship classes at the various open shows culminating with the achievement of Senior Showmanship at the Indiana State Fair.

More Information

USDA offers a variety of risk management, disaster assistance, loan, and conservation programs to help agricultural producers in the United States weather ups and downs in the market and recover from natural disasters as well as invest in improvements to their operations. Learn about additional programs.

For more information about USDA programs and services, contact your local USDA service center.

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