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Purdue FPAC Superintendent Brad Shelton receives Lawrence County Cattleman of the Year Award

Brad Shelton, superintendent of the Feldun Purdue Agricultural Center (FPAC), received the Lawrence County Cattleman of the Year Award at the Lawrence County Cattlemen’s Association-Indiana annual meeting.

Shelton oversees the daily operations of almost 1145 acres of land and manages nearly 500 acres of pasture, while supporting 190 to 220 head of Simmental Angus cattle. Shelton and other specialists at the center also conduct and support research initiatives aimed at advancing cattle production strategies and relevant agricultural technology. These activities include examining the effectiveness of annual ryegrass to mitigate negative effects of fragipan soils, analyzing the effectiveness and growth of the forage sorghum crop and collaborating on crossbreed expected progeny differences (EPDs) with the American Simmental Association.

It’s humbling. I don’t feel that I do anything above and beyond what other cattlemen or cattlewomen do to care for their animals. They, too, would be willing to help their fellow producers.

- Brad Shelton

Shelton’s journey to receiving the Lawrence County Cattleman of the Year award started in Orange County, Indiana, where he was raised on his family’s farm operation. This is where his passion for the cattle industry originated, and where he first learned about cultivating mixed crops and raising livestock. During high school, he actively participated in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H. These experiences instilled a deep understanding of agricultural practices – practices that would later inform his work at Purdue. Shelton continues to actively participate in his family’s Orange County farm, where he works alongside his father.

Brad Shelton receiving the Cattleman of the Year Award in Lawrence County, IndianaAs an alumnus of Purdue’s College of Agriculture, Shelton received his bachelor’s degree in soil and crop management and his master’s degree in crop physiology and ecology. Keith Johnson,professor of agronomy, was Shelton’s graduate advisor and a major career influence.

Shelton has served Purdue in various roles, including at the Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center and as Washington County’s Extension educator for eight years, after which he started his work at FPAC.

His current research and work at FPAC focuses on the effects of weather on cattle, utilizing biometric tools to examine further to ultimately mitigate the impacts. Through this analysis, the center’s goal is to find a cattle breed that thrives in heat and humidity in the “Fescue Belt,” a large region of the U.S., including parts of Indiana, known to be an inadequate foraging habitat for cattle.

Beyond campus, Shelton actively engages with the agricultural community through the Lawrence County Cattlemen's Association and the Indiana Beef Cattlemen's Association. The latter organization recognized him as an Outstanding Young Cattle Producer in 2017.

Jon Leuck, director of the Purdue Agricultural Centers, praises Shelton’s recognition. “Brad is an excellent cattleman who continuously serves his local cattle producers and community with impeccable loyalty and dedication. He is an asset to the missions of FPAC and the College of Agriculture.”

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