In Her Genes

Lakeland Teen a Rising Star in Cattle Breeding


Right here in the heart of Florida, a young agricultural enthusiast in Lakeland has been making waves in the world of cattle showing. At only 15, Carlee Taylor has already received several prestigious honors at events across the country. 

Mom Laura Taylor, whose family has long been involved in cattle breeding and who was instrumental in starting Central Florida Youth in Agriculture, got Carlee and her younger brother Truman started at a young age with cattle.

“One of the reasons we wanted to get our kids involved in agriculture was to teach them life skills and work ethic,” Taylor explains. “And then, just the great community that comes with being involved in agriculture, you know, salt of the earth type people that have integrity and passion for what they do.”

Here, Carlee chimes in: “When I was 7, my parents bought me my first Ultrablack heifer. I got her around May, and that summer I took her to junior nationals,” Carlee says. “She was really the one that sparked my passion for it all.” 

At that first competition, Carlee saw unexpected success with her heifer, Abbie. 

“It was the 2016 National Junior Brangus Show in Hattiesburg, Miss. That year we only took one heifer, and she got reserve grand champion,” Carlee explains.

Carlee and Abbie’s success came as a welcome surprise for the Taylors.

“You obviously want your kids to do well, but we weren’t expecting her to win a reserve grand champion that year,” says Taylor. “That just really drives your passion to want to do well. We took that heifer and did artificial insemination to ensure another calf. The goal was to give her a good bio project that would set her on that path.”

Of course, Carlee’s success at her first competition was just the beginning. In addition to her success at the Cattlemen’s Congress in Oklahoma City and the Florida State fair, she’s also produced two Show Heifers of the Year in the past five years. 

“The first heifer, her name was CT Miss Special Lady, and she was the 2020-2021 Ultra Brangus Show Heifer of the Year. She was a heifer that I had raised,” Carlee explains. “The second one was CT Miss Finley, and she won the 2022-2023 Ultra Brangus Show Heifer of the Year. She is actually an embryo calf out of one of the first cows my mom purchased in 2015 named Starburst.”

Besides the thrill of competition, taking their cattle to competition has other benefits as well.

“One of the reasons why we go to the national shows is because ultimately we want to promote our genetics,” Taylor explains. “So in 2021 we started an online sale to market our genetics on a national level.”

The sales are done online at, done in a racehorse style auction. So far, they’ve been successful selling cattle, semen, and embryos to buyers across the country in states like Texas and Arkansas.

“The goal is always to try and raise reproductively sound cattle that are going to be competitive in the show ring, but also be able to perform their job as a cow. Because you want to be able to turn them out after their show career and for them to have a calf every year for you to be able to produce more show cattle,” Carlee explains, adding, “A lot of the cows that we’ve been breeding are the ones that I’m showing now, and they have been performing exceptionally well in the show ring, but are still able to go have a calf every year.”

Carlee has a deep love for agriculture and cattle showing, and it has fostered a desire to work in agriculture in the future. 

“My favorite thing is definitely the relationships I’ve been able to build with people and the life lessons it’s taught me. Most kids aren’t going to be able to get out and speak with people like that. And that’s definitely one of the things that it’s taught me how to do is build relationships with people. It’s taught me to not be afraid of public speaking and hard work. Because if you want to achieve a goal, you’re going to have to get out and do it,” Carlee says. “My goal now is to go to UF or Texas A&M and study something along the lines of ag. I don’t know exactly what yet, but the goal is to continue to a career in ag.”

With a bright future ahead, Carlee is quick to voice appreciation for her family’s ag background.

“Showing and raising cattle, you have to have a village to stand behind you and anything you’re going to do. My family has been a big impact on that, giving me the opportunity to go and show at all these national shows. I’m very grateful for all the people that support and help me to get to the place I am today and that are going to continue to help me.”

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