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FROM BLOODLINE TO MILKLINE: Roots run deep in Whitley County 4-H Dairy Club

July 25, 2013

Matt Gaff’s family, the Mathiases, have been involved in Whitley County’s 4-H Dairy Club for 60 years, as have many families in the club. Pictured above, Gaff milks a cow during this year’s fair. Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott

COLUMBIA CITY — Bloodlines of the founders of Whitley County’s Dairy Club were still present at the 2013 4-H Fair — both human and animal.

“The echoes of our ancestors are in this barn,” Matt Gaff, former 4-Her said.

The Whitley County Dairy Club was founded in 1957 and cattle at this year’s fair have bloodlines that date back to the first animals at the fair.

“That’s what makes this club different from the others — it’s not terminal,” Gaff said.

Gaff’s family, the Mathiases, are part of a core group of dairy families that have been involved with the dairy club for years.

While animals from many of the other clubs are sold and new are bought the next year, it’s nearly the opposite for the dairy club.

“That’s what I enjoy about dairy,” Mel Egolf said. “First-year members can bring the same animal back to the fair several years in a row.”

Though his farm is in Noble County, Egolf has had dairy cattle at Whitley County’s fair for several decades.

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