The fact that Ethan and Jayden Carlson of Clements will be showing animals at the Redwood County Fair is nothing new. Both have done their share of livestock exhibiting at the fair showing everything from geese and sheep to swine and cattle.

This year their exhibit in the beef barn will be a bit different.

The Carlson twins will each show a beef animal during the beef show, but those two animals did not come to them in what one might consider the ordinary way. The two animals were given to them through what is known as the Minnesota Youth Beef Experience Program offered by the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association.

The sons of Darrin and Sharon Carlson received the news during the Minnesota Beef Expo this past November that they would each receive an animal through the program. They were two of 11 who received an animal, and since then they have been raising those animals and keeping detailed records of the work they have been doing.

Ethan was given a shorthorn heifer which was donated by Nelson Family Shorthorns and the Al and Crystal Nelson family of Renville.

Jayden received a heifer sponsored by the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association.

The Carlsons have also been mentored along the way. Ethan has been working with the Nelson family, while Jayden has been mentored by the Pesek family of Taunton. Having a mentor has been a great part of the program, said Jayden.

“I learned a lot,” he added.

The idea of taking part in the program was something Ethan and Jayden learned about from their aunt, Cathy (Tetrick) Hoffbeck, who has been working with her nephews for the past several years as they show their animals at the fair.

Along the way, a shorthorn herd has been developed on the Hoffbeck farm, with a name that hearkens back to Cathy’s growing up years as part of the Tetrick family - Mulberry Lane Shorthorns.

Having one member of the family receive an animal was pretty exciting, but for each of the Carlsons to be given one is once-in-a-lifetime.

Jayden said this is the first time it has happened that two from the same family have received animals through the program in the same year.

Ethan said each of them has been keeping a scrapbook as part of the requirement, adding they have put in a lot of work to keep up their records.

Both Ethan and Jayden have also been involved over the year in providing education opportunities for the public, as they both are ambassadors for the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association.

Earlier this year they took part in a clinic at Watje Feed, and because of their involvement they earned an additional state fair trip for the county.

The two will not only show their animals at the county fair, but will also take them to the state fair later this summer and will also show them at the Minnesota Beef Expo this coming November.

Again this year, there are pigs, sheep and poultry on the list of animals the Carlsons will be showing at the county fair. They are two of many who will be exhibiting animals and taking part in shows.

A schedule of those events can be found on Redwood County 4-H program Web site and on the Redwood County Fair Web site.

Jayden and Ethan said they have spent a lot of time with their animals, adding they are theirs to keep and breed to help enhance the herd.

Ethan and Jayden, who attend school in Wabasso, added after they graduate from high school they want to continue to work with livestock in some way. Both of them like shorthorns.

“They are a very docile breed,” said Jayden.

Ethan added they have also been working on other projects to enhance their operation, including retrofitting a semi trailer that will be used as a cooling area for calves and mothers.

Ethan and Jayden added they have also received a lot of other help along the way, and they both expressed their thanks to everyone who has supported them in their project.

Ethan and Jayden may have a few tweaks left to go before the beef show Friday morning at 9 a.m. in the show arena on the fairgrounds, but for the most part both believe they are ready.

Yes, agreed Ethan and Jayden, the project has been a lot of work, but they know the experience will benefit them for the rest of their lives.