Ariane France says 4-H is the best thing that ever happened to her – she says it gave her life a focus and opened up a new career path.
Earlier this month, France went with the Prescott-County 4-H Club to the 2016 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, which is held in Toronto. As a 21-year-old college student, France is in her final year with 4-H, and it would be her last youth competition. The results were impressive. France won Grand Champion (Senior) Showperson in the Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic, taking home the top prize at the show.
At the Royal, the Vankleek Hill native was showing a Holstein calf from Bonnie Brae Farms, also located in Vankleek Hill. The calf, named “Bonnie Brae Ape Mckenna,” was born last December.
“It’s my final year in 4-H and I left on a high note,” said France, who has been a member of the club for the past nine years. It’s not the end of 4-H for France, though. She says she would like to come back as a mentor. She plans to volunteer with 4-H to help other youth discover their passion for agriculture.
France grew up on a hobby farm, but cows have been a recent addition. Six years ago, with the assistance of her mom, France bought her first dairy cow. Her company, “Little Creek Holsteins,” now has six cattle, which belong to France, but live on a friend’s farm, where they are milked.
She says that without the help of her 4-H mentors and friends, especially the help of Bruce, Susan and Kelsey Mode, that she would never have gotten so far. “It’s a way to get into the dairy business without a farm. I like the showing aspect of it,” said France, who recently transferred from McGill University to the University of Guelph, where she is studying animal sciences.
France plans to apply to veterinary college next fall, or to possibly pursue a graduate studies program that focuses on dairy cattle. It’s a dream that she has been pursuing with intent and ambition. Last summer France worked in a veterinary clinic and she has also worked on numerous farms in the region, to grow her knowledge about breeding, raising and showing dairy cattle. She also attended the 2016 International Plowing Match as the Prescott County “Queen of the Farrow.”
“It was a lot of fun. The big advantage of it was that I got to meet a lot of people. It really pushes you out of your comfort zone, which for me, was public speaking. It was a really good experience overall,” said France.