Clara Wallace, a student at Van-Far Junior High School, has won first place in the “Children’s Barnyard” category of the 2018 Focus on Missouri Agriculture photo contest. Her winning photo of a group of cattle was taken in March 2018 on the family farm outside of Vandalia. Wallace, 12, is the daughter of Chad and Annie Wallace.

“Clara really enjoys taking farm and animal pictures, especially of cattle!,” said her mother, Annie Wallace. “Her mission that morning was to go over to the farm with her Dad and take a picture of her new baby calf that had been born a day before.”

Annie said Clara is a member of Ralls County 4-H and is currently enrolled in photography as one of her 4-H projects. Her assignment for the week was to submit a black and white photo - Clara knew she wanted to photograph the newborn calf.

“When [Clara] couldn’t get a good shot of the newborn calf, this picture just happened when another calf sat there looking at her,” said Annie. “She actually sat down in the mud to get the right angle.”

Her mother credits Dana Keller, one of Clara’s 4-H volunteers, with encouraging Clara to submit the photo for the contest.

“Clara is a very patient young lady, which is always something that’s beneficial to people who take pictures,” said Keller. “She just has a good eye for things. “She sees things a little differently than most people.”

In total, 25 winners were selected by a panel of judges consisting of Dana Rogge, USDA Farm Service Agency; Kari Asbury, Missouri Farmers Care; and Tisha Spencer, Firehouse Design.

The winning photos will be on display throughout the Missouri State Fair from Aug. 9-19 in the Agriculture Building.

ssabatke@mexicoledger.com