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Shane Clarkson

Shane Clarkson, his wife and twin daughters

What do you do?

I work on the Willow Bend Farm in Monroe County, West Virginia. I think my favorite part is just the freedom of being outside. Everyday is a different challenge. It’s not the monotony of doing one job all the time. You never know what you’re going to get into. It’s just a fun job. You get to do a lot of things whether it’s with animals, carpentry, electrical work, plumbing - it’s just kind of a catch all kind of deal. It’s nice not to be pigeonholed into one single activity all the time. 

Technically, we’re more of a demonstrational farm, but we have done some research in the past. When there’s research, it gives us a little bit more to do and to feel like you’re contributing more to the college. 

If you weren’t working at WVU, what’s the most likely alternative?

I would probably just be working on a farm. My uncle has a 1,200 acre farm that I grew up on and that’s where I spent my time.

Moment you knew what you wanted to do:

When I was a young boy, I was helping my uncle on his farm. I had never been around to watch him help pull a calf. I remember when I was 10 or 11 years old, seeing that calf come out alive. It was going to be born dead because she couldn’t have it on her own. I was able to watch him help get it out alive and it was really amazing to see that calf. Within a few minutes, that calf was up and nursing. I didn’t know it was going to be a career thing, but I knew I wanted to be around cattle.

Moment you knew your current role was right for you:

I don’t know if I ever really knew the moment it was right. I was working as a farm laborer on the farm at the time. My wife and I had just had twin daughters. We were living in a little two-bedroom trailer and we kind of outgrew it overnight. The farm manager was retiring and it gave me the opportunity to move up and live on the farm in the farmhouse that the university had supplied. It was not really a moment that I felt the job was right; it was just doors opened. It was a blessing to step up into the role. I told my wife it would be really great for the girls to grow up on a farm. And they love being on the farm.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I don’t think I would live anywhere else but West Virginia. I was born and raised in Monroe County. I’ve gone out of state a couple times and there are some beautiful places, but this is the only place that’s ever felt like home.

Favorite part of social distancing:

I don’t know if I’ve had a favorite part. My daughters are very active in sports and so it seemed like we were on the road a lot between work, going to church and doing sports. It was just time consuming and kind of tiring. Especially in the summer, a lot of things slowed down and we got to spend more time at home on the farm. We were able to spend more time together outside of the rat race of daily life. Probably the best thing about it was just being able to relax at home and not have to worry about where you’re going to go or what you have to go do.

Least favorite part of social distancing:

Not being able to go and do some things. And having to worry about people getting sick: that’s my least favorite thing I guess. And the unknown of what’s going to happen next.

Just for Fun

Favorite book: Proverbs

Favorite movie/TV show: Forrest Gump

Favorite Spotify playlist/band/song: Contemporary Christian

Favorite local restaurant: Kalico Kitchen 

Favorite local activity: Kayaking at state parks, fishing, hunting