4-H is a family affair

By on August 19, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
Sally Gorenz has been involved with 4-H since she was 9 years old. The 18-year-old Kaneland graduate is a member of the Lincoln Highway 4-H club, as well as a 4-H ambassador.

As a 4-H ambassador, Gorenz introduces young people in the area to 4-H and agriculture through events such as Mooseheart Agricultural Days and Ag in the Classroom.

Gorenz will head off to Iowa State University in the fall to study animal science. Her dream is to become a large animal veterinarian.

This summer, she showed her sheep at the Kane County Fair, the DuPage County Fair and the Illinois State Fair. In addition, she has been helping her brother Brad and sister Catherine get their sheep ready for the Elburn Days Livestock Show and Auction.

A cross between Hampshires and Suffolks, the sheep were born in January. The Gorenzs bought them in April, when they were 60 pounds. The 11-year-old twins, Brad and Catherine, have been working with them daily since then.

Catherine said the sheep are fun to work with, because they each have their own personality and they recognize their handlers after awhile.

Since they are market lambs, it is important to make sure they have enough muscle. That is where walking them every day comes in. Catherine said that touching them and running her hands over them gets them used to being handled.

“We have to get them in shape,” she said. “We feed them right, walk them and handle them.”

Several weeks before the auction, the sheep weighed in at 140 pounds. They named one of them Muscle Boy, because he has a particularly muscular hindquarters. He should bring a good price at the auction.

The sheep, steers and pigs that the 4-H members show at Elburn Days on Saturday are sold off during the auction on Sunday. The better the animals do in the show, the more they are likely to be sold for at the auction.

Joe Gorenz, a sophomore at Kaneland High School, will show his sheep at the Sandwich Fair in September, and 13-year-old Mike showed his rabbits at the Kane County Fair and will again at the Sandwich Fair.

Anne Gorenz, their mom, said she has been involved in 4-H since she was a girl. She and her children raise rabbits, dogs, chickens and horses, as well.

“We do it all,” she said. “It’s a family affair.”

Livestock Judging
Saturday, Aug. 22 • 8 a.m.

Livestock auction
Sunday, Aug. 23 • 1 p.m.