A.C. Jones High School senior Clayton Russell credits his country upbringing for introducing him to agriculture. He joined 4-H as soon as he was able to, after witnessing the opportunities the organization provided to his older brother and sister.
“I saw them doing it, and I figured I might as well join in on all the fun,” said Russell.
He began his 4-H journey by showing poultry at the Bee County Livestock Show, and has gone on to win reserve champion, grand champion, and showmanship awards. He also exhibits poultry at major livestock shows such as Rodeo Austin, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. Although he has been vastly successful with his poultry projects, Russell says the reward goes beyond a championship title.
“Buckles and banners weren’t the only reason I showed poultry,” said Russell. “It taught many life lessons I can take down the road with me like responsibility, hard work and determination.”
In addition to poultry, Russell exhibits market goat projects, and competes in livestock judging, range evaluation, and poultry judging. His range evaluation team recently earned third place at the Texas A&M Invitational Range Evaluation contest, allowing them to not only advance to nationals, but take home an eighth-place title.
Russell also holds various leadership roles through 4-H, including serving as the president of the Boots & Saddles 4-H Club, president of the Bee County 4-H Council, and the public relations officer for District 11 4-H. Additionally, he has served as a Senior 4-H Ambassador, which has allowed him to participate in volunteer projects such as food donation drives, cemetery clean-ups, and assembling care packages for active U.S. military troops.
Outside of 4-H, Russell is active in many extracurricular activities. Through FFA, he competes in poultry judging and radio broadcasting, in addition to serving as the president of his chapter. He has also earned both his Greenhand FFA Degree and his Lonestar FFA Degree, which is the highest award that can be earned at the state level. Through his high school, he has played varsity football, served as the parliamentarian of the National Honor Society, and earned three welding certifications as apart of the A.C. Jones welding team. Despite his busy schedule, Russell has completed 36 hours of college courses through a dual-credit program, which he hopes will help prepare him as he begins his collegiate journey in the fall.
After graduation, Russell plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in Rangeland, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management. He hopes to use his degree to become a Texas Game Warden, and promote wildlife conservation.
“I love to hunt and fish, and wish to preserve the way of life I have been able to live for future generations,” said Russell.
Congratulations Clayton on your outstanding accomplishments, the Capital Farm Credit team wishes you the best of luck in your future endeavors.