Leslie Birkenholz is already looking ahead to a long career in agriculture.
On the first day of the fair, Birkenholz, the daughter of Louis and Cheryl Birkenholz, sat with her family in the front of the Poultry Barn on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
Happy to talk about her fair experience, she was elated to say that her Polish, nonbearded, noncrested chicken had taken the champion ribbon.
Poultry Barn superintendent, Tony Perryman, of Columbia, pointed Birkenholz out as one of several women in the building who routinely show an aptitude toward agricultural excellence.
She has been raising chickens half her life, only just graduating this year from North Nodaway High School in Hopkins.
“I’ve had chickens since I was eight years old,” she said. “Since the beginning I’ve always liked them. I have coshins, too. They have feathers on their feet and are really fluffy. Some of them are bantam size and some are large full-sized, too.”
Birkenholz lives on the family’s farm, Birkenholz Stock Farm, where they work together raising draft mules and horses, quarter horses and commercial cows and pigs.
Her plans for the future include playing basketball at Ellsworth Community College, in Iowa Falls, Iowa, while majoring in agronomy and agricultural journalism.
To learn more about Birkenholz and her family’s operation, see their website at birkenholz.com.