Local woman featured on NDA’s calendar

September 28, 2018

Columbus native Mary Kane said she’s always had an eye for photography.

She said her talents were validated when her photo was featured in the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s 2019 calendar after being crowned as a Poultry Photo Contest winner.

“I love taking photos, so I decided to try to go out of my way and take pictures of poultry to submit it for the contest,” said Kane, who is currently completing her general education at Central Community College-Columbus and is a member of the Fantastic 4-H’ers Club spearheaded by Director Nila Novotny.

The NDA received more than 75 photo submissions this year from statewide participants representing 12 Nebraska counties. It was open to all Nebraska 4-H and Future Farmers of America members.

Kane was one in 10 winners announced during a special celebration at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

“There are some really talented youth photographers across Nebraska, and they did a great job highlighting the state’s diverse poultry populations,” said Steve Wellman, the director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, in a news release. “We appreciate the effort these 4-H and FFA members took to capture the perfect picture for our contest and want to thank everyone for participating and making the contest a success.”

Kane said she knew the majority of her competition would submit photos of chickens because it’s a common bird in Nebraska. She wanted to capture a unique bird, which led her to take a trip with her aunt to Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha.

Kane submitted two photos for the contest, one of ducks swimming in a pond and another of geese. Her duck photos were selected and can be seen on the calendar’s October page.

“I hoped one of them got in and it did,” Kane said. “I just love taking pictures of animals. It’s always candid, it’s great.”

The photos were judged by NDA staff members based on originality, composition and skills.

Kane learned about the contest and 4-H from her best friend, Cassie Wagner, who was a past winner of the Poultry Photo Contest. The exposure she absorbed from 4-H led her to raise chickens for the first time this year.

Because of her passion for animals and photography, Kane said the contest really was the best of both worlds and highly encourages anyone with an interest in photography or animals to participate.

“Do what makes you happy,” she said.

This year, the NDA switched up its calendar from being in-print to online in an effort to make it more accessible. Those wishing to acquire the calendar can do so by visiting www.nda.nebraska.gov.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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