Veteran 4-Hrs Look After Birthing Cows at Farm Show

Jack Kowalewski (left) and Alex Empet took a turn on Jan. 8 at monitoring two expectant cows at the 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show that gave birth that afternoon. The two are seasoned members of Susquehanna County 4-H.

Story and photos by Rick Hiduk

(originally published in the Susquehanna County Indpendent)

Jack Kowalewski of Clifford and Alex Empet of Kingsley are no strangers to the Pennsylvania

Farm Show. As members of Susquehanna County 4-H, they have shown livestock at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg for many years, developing a solid friendship along the way. Alex sometimes works on the Kowalewski family farm, and both are students at separate State University of New York (SUNY) campuses.

Alex showed a lamb and a pig at this year’s show. Jack also showed a lamb, which placed third in its class. Alex’s pig took a fifth place, but his lamb did not make the top five. The ribbon-takers allowed both young men to stay through Jan. 9 to enter their winners in the youth livestock auction at which Alex got $1,150 for the pig. Jack’s lamb sold for $1,100.

But this year they also tried something different. On Jan. 8, they got a break from the Small Arena and adjacent pens to help staff the ever-popular Calving Corner, where cows on the verge of giving birth are placed in comfortable enclosures in a public viewing area.

The people from the Center for Dairy Excellence are always looking for volunteers, so we decided that we would do it since we were already at the Farm Show,” Alex related.

I had lambs at home, and it was always cool to watch them give birth,” said Jack, “and then you get to watch them grow.”

It’s pretty cool to bring new life onto the farm and start the cycle over again,” Alex concurred.

When asked if there had been any births on their watch, the guys said that there had not but agreed that two cows in front of them looked like they were ready. “They’re probably going to go today,” Jack suggested.

And indeed they did within a few hours of the end of Jack’s and Alex’s volunteer shift. Calves Maggie and Eric were born at 1:37 and 2:21 pm, respectively.

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