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Local Teen Learns To Run Her Own Business Through 4H

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Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 11:50 am

Amarah Good is 15 years old but she already knows how to run a business, market her product and make a profit.

Her business is selling steers, thanks to 4H, an organization she has been part of since she was 11 years old. 4H has been a family tradition since her great grandmother, grandmother and her dad CJ were members as well. Good’s grandmother introduced her to the organization as a way to distract her from a family situation. Good’s 14 year old brother has had a heart transplant and brain surgeries over the course of his young life.

There is no 4H program in this area but that does not stop Good from doing what she loves. She attends Manzanita 4H meetings in Lakeside. While Good was born in and lives in Imperial Beach, her grandparents on her father’s side own a ranch in Boulevard, about 29 miles east of Tecate, which has made owning a steer easier, but she travels for that, as well.

“My main interest is animals and agriculture,” she said.

Good who has entrepreneurial streak, is mature and poised for her age and explains that every penny made over market price after the sale is tax deductible. She recently sold an 1,300 lb. steer at the East County Junior Fair in Lakeside for $3.50 a pound which is a dollar over what other kids in 4H have sold their steers for. There were 60 steers for sale at the fair.

Good had two buyers for her steer - Dr. Matthew Dickson and Dr. Kimberly Dickson of South Bay Urgent Care on Palm Avenue and a friend of her grandfather. The buyers each paid half the cost of the animal and will get half the meat after the slaughter. The money Good makes from the sale will be used to buy another animal for her next project.

Part of the business experience for Good is dealing with different situations that arise. For example both of her buyers were not able to attend the fair on May 18. “Someone had to bid for them. I figured out a way to bid and pay [on their behalf] then went back and explained to them the process,” she said.

Good also explained that usually the animal loses about 50 pounds during the fair because it’s nervous. “I offered [my buyers] a deal that the animal will be sent back to the farm for two weeks to gain the weight back, then it will be butchered,” she said. “Other kids don’t offer that deal and when the animal goes to a meat packer they get stressed out and the meat gets tense and it doesn’t taste good. But because my animal goes back to my grandparents it will be relaxed. This has helped me to learn to be creative and innovative from a business standpoint.”

Good has a system for her business. First she picks a young animal from her grandparents’ farm, who only breed Black Angus, and buys it. “Usually at 6 to 7 months old you can take it away from the mother so she can get ready for the next pregnancy. I start him on hay and grain,” she explained.

Good visits the animal every weekend or every other weekend and gets him used to her, teaches him how to walk properly to be shown, gets him used to having his feet and body touched and to be presentable. She also walks the steer for good muscle tone and teaches him to use a halter. When the steer is 18 months old she gets ready to show and sell it.

Good explained that the steer learns the sound of her voice and recognizes her. “It’s a great lesson. It teaches you how to deal with the animal as a product…it teaches you be be totally engrossed but not get attached,” she said.

Now she has finished this project, she has another one. She will sell another animal at the Del Mar County Fair, an 8-month old calf. The auction will be at the Del Mar Fair on June 29.

Of course she has made friends among the other 4H members and they exchange ideas and give each other advice. The club also provides community service opportunities. For example the group puts together a petting zoo at the Monarch School in San Diego and serves Thanksgiving dinner. 4H gives opportunities to kids who want to learn skills that are not taught in school any longer like sewing, woodworking and welding and even public speaking.

Good is a correspondence secretary for her 4H club, a position which has taught her a lot. “I learned to present myself, thank people that come to the meetings, write letters. I like how it has helped me with the social and learning aspect,” she said of 4H.

Camaraderie is also a big component of 4H. During the past fair, Good’s steer stepped on her foot after he was spooked by someone who inadvertently kicked the fence. Good’s foot was throbbing and she couldn’t walk. “One of my friends stepped in on the rink and showed the steer for me. It’s showing the individual animal [at the fair] but if someone needs help it’s about being selfless,” she explained.

Good has learned many skills during her years at 4H including marketing her product and writing letters to prospective buyers every year. When Good meets a prospective buyer she is always ready to market her business which is what happened recently after she cut her hand and was taken to South Bay Urgent Care to take care of it. When Matthew Dickson asked her about her interests she was prepared and told him about the upcoming sale of her steer and how she was looking for buyers. Because she is used to marketing her product she was able to quickly explain her plan and found a buyer.

Although her plans may change, Good, a sophomore at Mar Vista High School, plans to attend community college and study business, then continue her education at a four-year school and study agriculture, possibly even continue what her grandparents started.

“Maybe sell my animals to future 4H kids. Some kids are not as fortunate to have grandparents who have animals. I could help the kids with the price,” she said.

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