CHESTERVILLE — For 17-year-old Autumn Clair, the hardest part about raising show steers is having to say goodbye to them.

Clair has raised cows since she was 7 years old and started showing them at age 9.

She makes a point of knowing everything about her three steers, as well as the pregnant cow she is raising.

When she creates her budget, she sets aside money for their food and care. She even budgets her time to feed them before and after school, as well as catering to their other needs.

If she has a longer day planned than normal, her mother and father, Maureen and Ross Clair, help her out with her chores, she said.

Autumn Clair is a junior at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington and a student representative on the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors. She is on the board’s ad hoc safety committee and the school leadership team, and is the secretary of the Class of 2016, just to name a few of her extracurricular activities. She also works at Tractor Supply Co. in Wilton and raises market lambs.

Her father built the barn where she houses the three show steers, Atticus, a beef shorthorn; Gimme That Turbo, an Angus cross; and Coach, a Chianina-Angus cross, as well as October Storm, a Belted Galloway.

She has their feed stacked up on a pallet, and she knows the amount that each one needs to eat to get to the weight she wants them to be. A pile of sawdust sits in one corner, courtesy of her father, which she spreads on the floor for the animals. Each one also has a mat to stand on.

When she has a hard day, she goes out to the barn to be with her animals and unwind.

Her grandfather, Malcolm Turner of Jay, gave her the first steer, just as he has done for his other grandchildren, she said.

Clair’s father gave her October Storm as a present.

“I enjoy it,” she said of raising the animals.

“My favorite part about these guys is they have their own personality,” Clair said. “They are like kids. It is fun to get to know them, but the really hard part is having to having to say goodbye. I purchase them. I pay for them. It’s 100 percent my own deal.” 

Turbo alone cost $1,500, she said.

She went into steer-raising, knowing up front that she would never get the money back that she has put into them.

She has already decided where she will be selling each steer. Atticus will be sold at the Windsor Fair; Coach, at the Fryeburg Fair; and Turbo, at the Eastern States Exposition.

Among the factors that determine where the steers will be sold are the size and cost of each animal.

“Part of being able to afford it is I have my own little budget,” she said. “My parents gave me my car, and when I have a full day of classes, I take the bus.”

If she has a shorter day, she drives the car.

No money is spent frivolously and she spends a minimum on herself, she said.

This past Christmas, her present to herself was buying each of the steers and the cow matching blue feed tubs and blue halters.

“I know everything about each of these cows — absolutely everything,” she said.

Her knowledge helps her cater to their needs. It costs her nearly $9,000 each year to keep them.

She has started a memorial wall in the barn to remind her of the animals she has raised and sold, including Sammie-the-Lambie.

“This is my last year in 4-H,” Clair said. She will be out of state during the next fair season.

Clair plans to attend the University of Connecticut after graduation to become a veterinarian.

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