By: Hannah Adkisson, Contributing Writer
For the month of September, the FFA advisors selected sophomore Shane Rhoades to be the monthly Supervised Agricultural Experience spotlight. Rhoades is the son of Dan and Nicole Rhoades and, in addition to FFA, he participates in C4 youth group and Boy Scouts of America.
Rhoades raises and breeds Montadale and crossbred sheep, which he shows at fairs. Since he started this project, he has had Montadale ram and ewe lambs earn county, state and multiple national titles. His favorite part of this project has been going to fairs and showing off his finished products. “When I get to the fair, I only have one goal in mind: winning,” said Rhoades. “For a showman of any animal, that should be your goal.”
This success does not just come to Rhoades through luck. Raising and showing sheep has been an activity he has been a part of since he was five years old. In fact, when it came time to pick an SAE, his decision was an easy one because he already knew the ins and outs of raising sheep. Shortly after, Rhoades purchased some ewe lambs from his father, thus beginning his project.
While he thoroughly enjoys showing his sheep, Rhoades admits it does come with its hardships. “The most difficult part of my SAE is preparing for fairs,” said Rhoades. “There is a lot that goes on a couple days or so out from the fair that has to get done like washing and shearing sheep, getting our tack and supplies ready and loaded into the trailer, loading the trailer, getting food ready, and last of all getting to the fair.”
The goal of an SAE is to work with classroom curriculum in compliance with FFA to better prepare students for future careers. While an SAE specifically focuses on agricultural experiences, the skills students learn are easily transferable to any career field. Rhoades says through his FFA experiences, he feels prepared for the future, and this SAE experience has taught him how to track expenditures and income, develop time-management and develop leadership skills that are necessary for success. Rhoades plans on using these skills to either pursue a veterinarian degree in college or become an agricultural teacher.
This year Rhoades hopes to raise ten healthy lambs and a state champion lamb, all while keeping his sheep healthy and turning a profit.