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Influenced by memories

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ten-year 4-H member Kaylee Miller stands with one of the dairy cows she showed Monday at the 2009 Clay County 4-H Fair. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
* Family inspired Miller's journey through 4-H

For several years, when the name Miller was mentioned at the Clay County 4-H Fair, it has been synonymous with swine showing.

Kaylee Miller, for example, has won Grand Champion Barrow a handful of times in recent memory.

But in her 10 years of 4-H, Kaylee has shown much more than just swine.

In fact, she spent her early years following in the footsteps of her older brother, Brandon, who showed dairy cattle.

The family showed dairy cattle largely because they grew up on a dairy farm near Cory.

But in 1998, things drastically changed for the family, as Kaylee's father Danny -- a long-time member of the Clay County 4-H Council -- died.

"When he passed away, we had about 100 (dairy cattle)," Kaylee said as she started to tear up. "He always told me to keep your head up high."

Her father never got to see her show animals at the 4-H Fair. She has few memories of spending time with him while on the dairy farm, saying she remembers being on "the tractors" as a child.

Her brother Brandon, however, has memories of working the farm with their father.

"Brandon worked with dad a lot more," Kaylee said.

Kaylee is in her final year of Clay County 4-H. On Monday, she showed dairy cattle for the final time, coming away with Reserve Grand Champion.

Kaylee is currently a member of the Jackson Township Farmhands but also spent time with the Clever Clovers. She is also a member of Clay County 4-H Junior Leaders.

In addition to showing dairy and swine, Kaylee has shown beef steer.

She plans on attending Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., in the fall on a full-ride scholarship. Following that, she plans to come back to Indiana to further her studies at Purdue University.

Kaylee said her father was a big influence on her showing animals in 4-H.

"He was in 4-H," Kaylee said. "We just wanted to do it. He just loved being here."

Kaylee doesn't live on that dairy farm anymore. Her family has since moved.

However, she has received help throughout the years from the Emery Dairy Farm, owned by Charlie and Debbie Emery.

Kaylee said the family leases cattle to her.

"They let me bring them home and I take care of them all summer," Kaylee said.

In addition, the family has received lots of help from others along the way.

Through her father's influence and inspiration, Kaylee said she plans on staying in agriculture, saying she's not sure what she would do otherwise.

"It's every day for me," Kaylee said.

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Kaylee I went to school with your dad and he was a good guy. Its wonderful to see that you are keeping his farming ambitions alive. I see you also inherited his red hair. Congrats, Danny would be real proud of you.

-- Posted by opininated on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 9:57 PM

Bless your heart!

-- Posted by sassypants on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 7:33 AM

Hi Kaylee, I use live on a neigboring farm with your dad and grandparents. Danny was a lil spitfire and I know how he would be very proud of you carring on the farm tradition, oh how I wish I did!!!! He was a good guy and I miss him....

Best wishes to you and your family

-- Posted by nwi stater on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:51 AM

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