Hard work, the desire to learn and a family with roots in the livestock industry have helped Chesney Effling become successful both in and out of the show ring. She’s led numerous champions to the winner’s circle at shows across the United States and represented her FFA chapter and South Dakota in national competitions for both livestock judging and vet science.
The 17-year-old lives on her family’s ranch near Highmore, S.D., with parents Chris and Kristi and is the middle of three sisters. Older sister Cagney attends Kansas State University, and younger sister Kenidey is 13. The family raises Charolais, Hereford and Simmentals, and each sister lays claim to a favorite breed.
“When all three of us girls started to show at the same time, we argued about who got what. So, I show the Herefords, Cagney showed the Charolais, and Kenidey shows the Simmentals, for the most part, but we might switch it up occasionally,” Chesney said.
Showing Herefords has paid off for Chesney, and this year she claimed two banners at the VitaFerm® Junior National Hereford Exposition in Denver, Colo. She showed the Grand Champion Bred-and-Owned Bull, Logic, as well as the Reserve Champion Cow-Calf Pair. Both entries are special to the teen who devotes many hours each day working in the show barn preparing her cattle.
“Logic” her bred-and-owned bull is out of a flush from her very first show heifer, 039. A cattle partner sent her the bull as a calf, and when he arrived in South Dakota, he was “skinny.” But with some care and management, Chesney and her family got the bull ready to show and took him to the 2019 National Western in Denver, where he raised a lot of attention. They sold an interest in him to McDonald Farm in Michigan, and the bull went out there and started breeding cows before returning to a bull stud. When Chesney and her family were on their way home from showing at the World Pork Expo, they picked up Logic, took him back to their ranch, and started working on him for the NJHE.
“We did what we could with his hair, which wasn’t much, and took him to Denver again, and everything worked out,” Chesney said with enthusiasm.
Perhaps just as exciting for her as raising and showing the Grand Champion Bull, was showing the Reserve Champion Cow-Calf Pair, a female who is no stranger to the backdrop at the NJHE, as she won Reserve Grand Champion Horned Heifer in 2018.
Chesney shares how this female that is so special to her almost wasn’t the heifer she purchased.
“We bought her in 2017 from Jensen Brothers in Courtland, Kansas. I saw a picture of a heifer on Facebook and so when my sister Cagney was at Jensen’s with her NEO judging team on a workout, I told her she should look at this heifer I saw. She did look at the heifer I liked but told me she liked that heifer’s sister better and she was horned. ￼So, we bought the heifer Cagney saw in-person, not the one I originally liked, during an online sale,” Chesney laughs.
And that sisterly advice has paid off both in the show ring, and in production. She has a March 2019 bull calf at side, and though Chesney has shown only one other cow-calf pair, she knew this duo was special. After some convincing of her dad, who can appreciate a good pair, but isn’t overly excited about hauling them to shows, she and her mom got the calf into the show barn and started preparing them for the JNHE.
Chesney is aware of the importance of best management practices and using the tools provided to make superior matings, like with Logic. She knows that to get to the backdrop it takes lots of work and dedication. She also knows it takes a good nutrition program that will help keep your cattle eating and drinking while on the show road.
Chesney, who has served as a Sure Champ® Ambassador this summer, understands the value of Amaferm®, is a prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying the nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to increase intake, digestion and absorption. She makes sure that her show cattle have access to the Vita Charge® Stress Tubs to help them from the stresses of summer show season. New this summer, she was able to start her cattle on the Vita Charge Stress Tub HEAT®, which offers the same benefits, and also helps maintain the animal’s core temperature when it gets to be 70 degrees and hotter outside.
“Our cattle really, really like the Stress Tubs, and it is important to keep their gut working and keep them feeling good. The new HEAT Stress Tubs are really good and have helped our cattle keep cool on the really hot weeks we’ve had. We’ve also had a few weeks when it didn’t cool off at night,” Chesney said.
She also relies on the Sure Champ Climate Control Gel, to help keep her cattle’s temperature regulated especially when they are on the show road. The convenient size and palatability of the product makes it easy to administer. Chesney said her cattle don’t mind the flavor, which is helpful, when she is trying to get it into their mouths.
One of the benefits of being a Sure Champ Ambassador goes hand-in-hand with what Chesney enjoys most about the livestock industry and that is making lifelong friendships and networking with others that share the same passion, and the countless opportunities to succeed.
“I’ve got to meet a lot of new people through showing cattle, and this summer I got to help with the Sure Champ Boot Camp at Junior Nationals, where it was so fun to work with the little kids. I’ve also gotten to make industry contacts. The cattle industry gives young people a lot of opportunities, like scholarships. It really gives us a kick start into our future,” Chesney said.
Continued involvement in the cattle industry is definitely a part of her future. She is approaching her senior year in high school, and then plans to attend either Kansas State University or Iowa State University and major in Animal Science. Ultimately, she’d like to be a lab tech and work with an embryologist. She would like to be on the meats judging team in college, something she has a new-found interest in as her high school started studying and competing in Meat Science and Technologies, where she was second place in the state contest last year in her first year of competition.
Success breeds success. And yet, with hard work and dedication, one young lady knows how to get better in the industry she loves.
“Never stop learning. You can learn something new from almost anybody. Always be open to taking criticism and learning,” Chesney advises.