It's easy to see Alaina Chute's passion for farming. You can see it when she trains her peers to raise healthy goats. You can hear it when she talks to the public about where their food comes from. It's there when she imagines her own future career in agriculture.
Alaina, age 18, has been raising goats for 10 years. “In fourth grade my family sold our dairy cows, but my younger brother and I still wanted an animal project, so we bought some goats. The project has grown from there and now I have nine registered Nubian dairy goats and my younger brother has a herd of Nigerian Dwarves.” She has also learned about beef cattle, veterinary science and the Exploring Animals project, and made illustrated presentations and livestock demonstrations. She's a member of the Lucky 13 4-H Club in Aitkin County.
Teaching and sharing
Running through her 4-H career is a theme of teaching and sharing. Her favorite part of having goats is showing them at the Aitkin County Fair. “I love showing [goats] because I get to show off my animals to the world – not just in the show ring, but when people come through the barns and ask about my animals," Alaina said. "I can start a conversation about where our food comes from.”
Alaina believes strongly that consumers need to know more about agriculture. “People need to understand how their food is produced in order to be truly informed consumers. I also think it is vitally important to inspire young people to pursue careers in agriculture.”
This belief is one of the reasons that Alaina chose to become one of the first Minnesota 4-H Agriculture Ambassadors. “I enjoy sharing my love of [agriculture] with other people. My job as agriculture ambassador is to attend agricultural events to promote 4-H and the 4-H agriculture projects, tell my story, and fulfill the 4-H mission to empower rural youth with leadership skills.”
She is also promoting agriculture as a career. “I want younger kids to know that being a farmer or being engaged in another agriculture-related career is a viable option for their future. Feeding the world is a noble pursuit, and it is perhaps the biggest and most important job of all, and I want kids to know that.”
In her training video for 4-H'ers, "You've Goat to be Kidding," Alaina's passion and expertise shine through. Throughout the video, as goat kids climb and sniff her, she clearly explains goat diets, the milking process, how to show them and how to clip and cut their hair. “I put together my goat video to help raise awareness about the goat project and to get younger 4-H'ers excited about the goat project and teach them good handling and management practices when caring for their goat kids.”
Learn more about the 4-H Meat Goat Project and the 4-H Agriculture Ambassadors.
Minnesota 4-H intern and Wisconsin 4-H alum