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Girl finds niche in raising goats for livestock auction

By KBell
Oct. 9, 2010 at 5:09 a.m.

Annie Simnacher,10, holds Mr. Cheese tightly to keep him from eating any and everything in sight before auctioning him off at the Jackson County Youth Fair Auction Saturday. The Ganado student has raised the goat since May and said he's provided many laughs along the way.

EDNA - Mr. Cheese nibbled at the corner of a livestock scoring sheet.

Pouring all of her 10-year-old body into pulling him away, Annie Simnacher couldn't stop the 118-pound goat from ripping the paper off the bulletin board.

She laughed.

"He's really funny," Annie said.

The Ganado student and the goat she'd named Mr. Cheese were one of 180 entries in the 161st Jackson County Youth Fair Auction on Saturday afternoon.

"It was definitely fun. I got second to last place, but it was definitely fun," Annie said, with a spunkiness that seemed to match that of the animal she'd raised since May.

It was the first year the Ganado 4-H member had raised goats, though she'd been competing in the livestock show for three years.

Rabbits were too boring; steers - too mean. But she and her mom, Carol Janssen, agreed - goats were the perfect match.

"Goats have a lot of personality," Janssen said. "She's found her animal."

Annie credited her friend, 14-year-old Torie Bauerle, with introducing her to raising goats.

Torie said she's been raising goats for five years, mostly because of the similar adoration she feels for the animal.

"They're really cute," she said, petting the 86-pound Savannah. "You have to be very patient with them. It does take a lot of time for them to warm up to you."

Annie said she enjoyed learning about how to raise goats - like how much water to give them so they don't become bloated and to change out leftover feed to prevent disease.

"Now I know what I need to do - feed him less and exercise him more," Annie said, pointing out Mr. Cheese was one of the youngest, but fattest goats.

"Cheese, don't eat that," she repeated every few minutes.

"We also learned you have to have a buddy goat," Janssen said. "Goats are very social. They need a friend."

Mr. Cheese's buddy was Jackson. The family plans to keep Jackson, who, after the auction, will have to stick with playing tag with the calf Anna Beth, Annie said.

Though Annie said the family will be sad to see Mr. Cheese go, she definitely plans on raising more goats.

Besides the entertainment they provide, she said goats have also taught her life lessons.

"You have to be responsible. You have to think about the goat every day, too, like a human being," she said.

Then, "Cheese, don't eat that."



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