Ray Allen Schaefer’s 4-H journey began in the third grade, when he began participating in the plant ID and rangeland evaluation judging contests. He soon realized he wanted to raise a livestock project of his own, and exhibited his first set of broilers at the Comal County Livestock Show. This sparked a passion for the poultry industry, and Schaefer soon joined the poultry judging team. He also began raising broilers for major stock shows, including the State Fair of Texas and the San Antonio Stock Show. Although exhibiting livestock projects is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process, Schaefer believes that the effort is worth it in the end.
“Seeing what comes out of all of your hard work is by far the most special and rewarding experience to me,” said Schaefer.
During his freshman year of high school, Schaefer joined the Canyon-New Braunfels FFA, where he competes in the chapter conducting, ag issues, and wildlife contests. Now a senior, Schaefer currently serves as the president of his chapter, and recently earned his Lone Star Degree, the highest honor that can be earned at the state level through FFA. Being apart of the leadership team has allowed Schaefer to participate in various service projects, including hosting an annual “Farm Day” for local kindergarten classes. This event allows students to experience agriculture in a hands-on learning environment, and educate them on the importance of supporting the industry.
“What we've come to find out is the majority of these kids do not know where even the simplest things, like chicken nuggets, come from,” said Schaefer. “But when they leave, they have learned that most of everything they use on a daily basis comes from agriculture.”
Schaefer is also an active volunteer through the National Honor Society at Canyon High School, and has assisted with service projects such as canned food drives, winter coat and blanket drives, and trunk or treat events. He also has been an ROTC member, and earned the rank of Cadet Airman 1st Class.
After graduation, Schaefer plans to attend Texas A&M University to pursue a degree in engineering. He hopes to remain involved in agriculture by becoming a member of the collegiate poultry judging team, as well as joining agriculture-focused student organizations.
Congratulations on your outstanding accomplishments Ray Allen, the Capital Farm Credit team wishes you the best of luck in your future endeavors.