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Baylee Etheridge of the Williston Middle FFA Chapter is the winner of this year’s coveted State Star Discovery award.
Etheridge and the other finalists of this award were recognized at the 85th annual Florida FFA State Convention and Leadership Conference this past June.
Etheridge and the top finalists received awards sponsored by William E. Hamm & Associates, Inc., as a special project of the Florida FFA Foundation.
Etheridge, a member of the Williston Middle FFA Chapter has grown up around cattle.
At a young age she began working with her father at their family business, Thomas Cattle Company.
When she was eight years old she began showing cattle and soon realized that she wanted to own a herd of her own.
In 2010 she and her brother went in together and purchased 18 head of commercial heifers and one bull. She raised and sold the calves off of the heifers for a profit of $18,000.
She began attending club calf sales around the Southeast and used the profits from her cattle business to purchase nine heifers and six steers. She has set the goal to raise and sell her own show cattle to FFA members in her area by the time that she graduates from high school.
In order to meet this goal she knew she had to improve certain areas of her operation.
She worked with her parents to build a barn that including a wash rack, clipping room and practice arena.
She also determined that to get the best genetics she needed to be skilled in the area of artificial insemination. She has become a certified AI technician and is not working with her father to conduct embryo transfer of some of her cattle.
Etheridge hopes to one day attend the University of Florida and major in animal science.
Her advisor is Natalie Couey.