By Kerry Drager
Alex Fellbaum of Culdrum Township near Swanville has a love and dedication for our furry and feathered companions. Since the third grade, Fellbaum has been active with livestock and the 4-H program.
The first few years of his 4-H career was spent on animal nutrition and dairy cattle, but he has since expanded his knowledge and capabilities of livestock. 4-H has provided this young man on the brink of adulthood with a future in livestock care and farming.
“I’ve worked with my animals a lot. I was in the General Livestock Quiz Bowl and that helped me learn about beef, sheep and swine. I just figured out the other species,” said Fellbaum.
Fellbaum has been awarded many showmanship awards, including the Premiere Livestock Showmanship Award. This award is earned by 4-H members who can successfully show all seven species of livestock. Fellbaum is not only a good showman, he has a vast knowledge about the animals and the care they require. Fellbaum said he has won the Premiere Livestock Showmanship Award every single year in Morrison County since they started offering it.
Although Alex is competent with every animal, his favorite is sheep. He started out with a bottle lamb and learned about caring for the animals. He has since moved up to high quality show lambs.
“The quality of the animals have changed from when I first started to what I have now. I didn’t have the greatest animals that first year. Now I know what to look for in an animal.”
When Fellbaum was just 13, he acquired a Youth FSA loan and went to an auction to purchase a show quality sheep. It was the start of his herd, but also taught him responsibility in borrowing credit and paying it back.
“It’s a really good process for the kids to learn. He probably knows more about loans and dealing with them than most adults because of that program,” said Fellbaum’s mother, Linda Fellbaum.
Alex has also played important roles within his 4-H chapter and is the vice president of the Culdrum Comets. He has held almost every office and has been elected president twice.
This year Fellbaum will be showing his sheep and dairy cattle at the Morrison County Fair, Aug. 7-10. His goal is to win a trip to the Minnesota State Fair with one of his lambs. The county fair does not auction the livestock but the state fair will auction off the highest quality 4-H animals to the highest bidder.
“I haven’t made the auction yet, but I got a blue ribbon last year with a market lamb,” Alex said.
After the summer fairs, Fellbaum will be on his way to attend North Dakota State University. He plans on majoring in animal science and wants to become a dairy nutritionist. He has already earned 31 credits towards his college education while in high school. This has provided him with the opportunity to jump into his field of study immediately after starting his higher education and could mean graduating sooner.
After high school graduation, Alex has just one more year in 4-H. He has loved the program throughout his childhood and plans on finding ways to remain active in some way as an adult. In the mean time, he has worked hard this summer to get his lambs ready for the county fair. He has high hopes that this will be the year his animal is selected as one of the top 20 percent in the state and win the trip to the state fair to show Minnesota what he has learned in 4-H.