Gillette FFA member operates diversified project
Gillette – Maddy Morgan of the Gillette FFA Chapter exemplifies what 4-H and FFA members strive for in a diversified livestock project.
Between her meat goats, dairy goats, sheep and poultry projects, maintaining a nearly perfect GPA and involvement in school activities, Morgan is a role model for all young people.
The daughter of Candy and Eddie Morgan, Morgan started her journey with livestock when she was only 12.
“I used to work for my gymnastics coach, and she gave me a bred ewe one year,” says Morgan about her beginning.
Morgan now keeps her ewe lambs to expand her herd and runs about 10 sheep, citing sheep as the smallest sector of her projects. Because she doesn’t have a buck yet, Morgan enlists the help of community member Derek Hensley in breeding her sheep.
“I’ve been trying to keep a couple replacement ewes, getting the traits that I want, and keeping them in my herd,” explains Morgan.
As her flock continues to grow, Morgan remembers early county fairs, saying, “I remember having a bucket of supplies and taking one lamb to fair. Now I have a whole trailer load.”
On top of maintaining a small flock of sheep, Morgan owns 20 dairy goats and 20 Boer meat goats.
“My sister got me started in the goat business,” says Morgan. “As I got older, I got into all different breeds. I have five of the seven breeds of dairy goats now.”
Her goat project started nearly six years ago and is steadily expanding as she grows her herd each year.
Morgan has been very successful both at Campbell County Fair and at the Wyoming State Fair in showing her goats for the last several years. Last year she received the Champion FFA Market Goat award in Campbell County and she also took her dairy goats to State Fair where she received Reserve Champion FFA Dairy Goat Showmanship.
She has also been successful with her project at Wyoming State FFA Convention, where she received the silver proficiency award, meaning she had the second place project in Wyoming.
To add to her already expansive project, Morgan has between 60 and 80 chickens of a variety of breeds.
“When I was little we always got a few chicks for Easter every year. It grew from there,” remembers Morgan. “I got into all the cool, exotic breeds, and each year we get a few new chickens.”
Morgan shows her chickens at fair and sells eggs to community members. Last year, she received the bronze proficiency award at Wyoming State FFA Convention, effectively placing third in the state. She is working to expand her poultry business, as well.
“I recently purchased an incubator and have been hatching my own chicks,” she says. “I’m trying to keep the purebred qualities, and it’s a cheaper way to grow and get new hens.”
As Maddy enters her senior year of high school, she is very excited to serve as the Gillette FFA Second Vice President.
“I think it will give me a lot more opportunities to be involved in the community,” says Morgan. “I wish I would have done it in the past.”
Gillette FFA advisor Karen Trigg says, “Maddy is a positive role model and an all-around genuine young lady.”
Her involvement in the FFA chapter also includes participation in livestock judging, agronomy and prepared speaking events.
Morgan also currently serves as a member of the Wyoming State 4-H Leadership Team, where she is looking forward to her continued work with 4-H at State Fair.
After graduation, she looks forward to attending college in either Casper at Casper College or at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, where she will study medicine with the goal of becoming an occupational therapist. Her involvement with FFA, 4-H and livestock projects won’t end with her high school career, however.
“I plan to keep my animals and help future youth,” says Morgan, citing role model Aliciah Leu as a defining factor in helping start her projects.
She looks forward to selling lambs and kids to young 4-H and FFA members to start projects and to continue giving back to an organization that was important in her life.
“It’s definitely been a memorable experience,” says Morgan of her years in 4-H and FFA.
Morgan’s years of experience in working with her sheep, goats and chickens have taught her a lot about the value of hard work and accomplishment.
She offers advice to younger members, saying, “Whatever you put in, you get out.”
“There have been years that I have slacked off, and I can see a difference in the outcome compared to when I am spending time with my project,” reflects Morgan. “There is a big difference at the end of the year between two belt buckles and six when you look at the amount of work you put in.”
Saige Albert is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.