Newton FFA’s Shellenberger wins grant

PLEASANT HILL — It was helping out a fellow 4-H member show goats at the Miami County as a fourth-grader when Clinton Shellenberger got interested in goat production.

Last week, Shellenberger, 17, a junior, a member of the Newton-UVCC FFA Chapter, was awarded a $1,000 National Supervised Agriculture Experience grant from the AmerisourceBergen Foundation.

His application was selected from among 5,968 applications nationwide.

Shellenberger plans on using the funds to upgrade his goat herd gates at his family’s farm in Pleasant Hill. Shellenberger’s family farm raises dairy cattle, yet it was that experience at the county fair that led him to add goats to the barn.

“Receiving this grant will really help me be more particular with how the gates and pens are set up and I’ll be more particular in how I assemble it,” he shared. Gates and pen setups are important to keep stock separated for breeding, quarantine for sicknesses, and doe and kid separation, Shellenberger explained.

“We always showed dairy cows at the fair and I remember I was in the fourth grade and I helped someone show goats and I thought it was cool,” he said Shellenberger has two Boer goat bucks and several does. He plans to breed goats for himself and his family to show and later expand the operation to sell to local children for fair projects.

This year, Shellenberger began using his bucks to breed with other local herds as well.

“It’s been a double project in a way. Goat production has a lot of variety from meat production and dairy goats have become popular with the milk and cheese industry,” he said.

Shellenberger said he found the grant opportunity and with help from his FFA adviser Craig McCullough, they filled the application out last month.

“FFA is a great organization to be involved in. It helps you long after you are out of school,” he said. Shellenberger said he plans to study agriculture education and continue to help on his family farm after graduation.

SAE grants are designed to help FFA members create or expand Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, a requirement that all FFA members must complete. An SAE requires FFA members to create and operate an agriculture-related business, work at an agriculture-related business or conduct an agricultural research experience. Upon completion, FFA members must submit a comprehensive report regarding their career development experience.

The National FFA organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.