Next Gen Ag: A future in beef nutrition and livestock management

by | Jul 10, 2024

Next Gen Ag is a year long series that will run on our In The Field blog, Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter account. Each Wednesday, we will highlight a young person pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. Individuals can be in high school, college, or recent graduates who are working to establish a career in agriculture. Stay tuned each week to meet some of our industry’s future leaders!

Being raised in an agricultural family and an agricultural community instilled a passion for our state’s number one industry in Shane Kendall at a young age. From 4H events and showing livestock to working on his family farm and falling in love with the cattle industry, Shane has done a lot through the years to lead him to where he is today.

Shane Kendall and his older brother Wyatt were raised on a small beef cattle farm in Sampson County. Although his parents grew up in Indiana and moved to North Carolina later in life, Shane’s mother and father also grew up on farms and in the livestock showing industry. “Both of my parents were raised in the arena showing livestock, so they wanted my brother and I to have those same experiences,” Shane said. “I am very thankful that I not only was raised on a farm surrounded by cattle, but also learned how to show livestock at the hands of my parents. They have been my mentors all my life and continue to teach me about the importance of agriculture and how to make a difference in the industry.” In addition to operating the family farm, Shane’s mother works as an extension agent in Duplin County and his father works as a nutritionist for Prestage Farms in Clinton. “Through their work in the industry, my parents have taught me how important agriculture is to our state and the world,” Shane said. “They instilled a passion for livestock and farming in me at a young age, which has guided me all my life to pursue a career here.” During his middle and high school years, Shane was also involved in 4H where he learned a variety of leadership skills and life lessons about agriculture. “I love showing livestock, especially cattle, and seeing the difference that agriculture makes in the lives of people across this state,” Shane said, “but seeing, protecting and caring for the animals is where my heart truly lies and it’s what has made me continue to work hard to establish a place in this industry.”

As a freshman in college, Shane is getting ready to embark on the next level of his agricultural journey. He is currently working to obtain his associate degree in Livestock Judging at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before transferring either to Oklahoma State University or Kansas State University to receive a bachelor’s degree in Beef Nutrition. “My dad really made me want to get a degree in nutrition because I see it’s importance to the livestock industry on a daily basis,” Shane said. With a degree in nutrition, Shane will most likely have to obtain his master’s and doctorate degrees before starting a full-time career in the industry. “The schooling doesn’t bother me because I know that it will help me be the best that I can be in my future career,” he said. “If I want to make a difference in this industry, I can’t be afraid to work hard, whether that’s in school, on the farm, or anywhere else in the industry.”

Shane’s work ethic, determination, passion for livestock, dedication, and persistence are all skillsets that help drive him towards his dreams each day. In addition to working as as beef nutritionist one day, Shane would like to own and operate his own cattle farm and stay involved in the livestock showing arena. “Obtaining my associate degree in Livestock Judging will help give me an edge in the industry and allow me to stay involved with that part of my life,” he said. “I would love to use it one day to not only help judge livestock shows around the county and state levels, but also help teach kids how to show and the benefits of it.” Wyatt, Shane’s brother, is also pursuing a degree in the agriculture industry, Agriculture Engineering at N.C. State University to be exact, so their futures could possibly intertwine again on the farm someday.

Although Shane loves the people who make up the agriculture industry and their hearts for service, his favorite part of working in agriculture is knowing that he has a purpose and makes a difference. “When I wake up in the morning, I know that I have a reason to be alive because the livestock depend on me getting out of bed,” he said. “To know that I have a purpose and that I am making a difference, not only in the lives of these animals but also people across the world through the products that they produce, is the most rewarding feeling in the world.”

For anyone seeking a career in the agriculture industry, Shane recommends getting involved and building connections as much as you can. “Go out and meet people who are agriculture industry professionals, not only in North Carolina, but in other states as well,” he said. “Meet with industry experts, learn at the hands of a farmer, ask to shadow people, and take every single opportunity that you can to build a network of people who will not only help educate you for the future, but be a resource to you for the rest of your life.” We are so proud of Shane and all the hard work that he is doing to become an industry leader. We can’t wait to see where his future in beef nutrition takes him!