CSU, Chico

Haydn Clement, Agriculture Education

Haydn Clement, Agriculture Education

From the first day Haydn Clement came to California State University, Chico as a freshman, he was shadowed by his strong reputation for his unique personality, livestock judging experience, proven leadership abilities, high academic capability, and a strong work ethic. Now a graduating senior in agriculture education, Clement has not only lived up to that reputation but also exceeds it as he continues to prove to be a valuable asset to the College of Agriculture family.  

Clement attended Paso Robles High School in Paso Robles, California, where he grew up as the youngest in his family with three older sisters. Two of his sisters and his father are high school agriculture teachers. His father, Mark, has been teaching high school agriculture for 36 years. His sister Heather teaches at Santa Ynez High School, and his sister Haley teaches at Liberty Ranch High School in Galt. It was his father and sisters’ passion for agriculture education that initially led Clement to find his own passion for the field.

With his older sisters to look up to, his mother, Cheryl's, support, and his father as his high school agriculture teacher, Clement became extremely active and successful within the FFA organization. As a freshman, he competed in the creed contest; his sophomore year he was elected to chapter office as sentinel, and his junior year he served as the South Coast Regional sentinel. Clement’s senior year proved that multitasking and time management were also among his skills as he served as the regional president for the South Coast FFA Region, ran and was slated for California FFA state office, competed in livestock judging, was the California state champion in grape vine pruning, won the FFA extemporaneous speaking contest in California, and made it to the semifinals at the national FFA contest in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to his officer positions and contest participation, Clement showed market steers all four years of high school at the California Mid-State Fair.

After he wasn’t elected to state office, Clement had to choose another path and had the choice of attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo or California State University, Chico. All signs seemed to point to CSU, Chico. All three of Clement’s sisters are CSU, Chico alumnae. That history paired with his desire to move away from home led Clement to decide that CSU, Chico was where he wanted to be. Today as a senior, Clement continues to enjoy the atmosphere and personality of the College of Agriculture. “I love that you can just walk down the hall and sit in teachers’ offices and get to know them outside of the classroom,” he said.

During his freshman year at CSU, Chico, Clement continued his involvement in both leadership development and the livestock industry. He was offered a position as a Greenhand Leadership Conference facilitator where he worked with high school freshmen FFA students from up and down the state on leadership and personal development. Also during his freshman year, Clement began competing on the Livestock Judging Team and traveled to contests in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska with his team members and Coach Clay Carlson. 

Through livestock judging, Carlson has gotten to know Clement well. “He’s a goofy guy, but when you get to know him, he’s mature beyond his years,” Carlson said. “Some kids are raised with the mentality and qualities that I see in Haydn, and it most definitely stems back to his father and his family upbringing. He’s always professional, and I never doubt that I can count on him to do something when he says he will. Not only does Haydn get the job done, but he gets it done right, and those two things don’t often come in one person these days, let alone a college student.”

After competing on the CSU, Chico Livestock Judging Team for two semesters, Clement wasn’t quite able to keep away from the livestock judging world. Clement began volunteering as a coach for the livestock judging team at Las Plumas High School with his assistant coach, Brendan Close. Clement and Close work with the team four to six hours a week to help them develop their judging skills. The duo coaches the team in preparation for FFA field days where they compete in the spring semester along with many other high school FFA students from across the state. In addition to coaching , Clement has also been hired to judge at numerous county fairs and livestock jackpots across the state including the El Dorado County Fair, Lake County Fair, Plumas County Fair, Stateline Jackpot, Surf and Turf Jackpot, Tulare County Fair, and Swine Showmanship at the California State Fair, to name a few. 

Clement credits a lot of his livestock judging success to head livestock judging coach Carlson. “Over the past four years I’ve been at CSU, Chico, Clay has taught me the value of mental toughness,” Clement said. “He’s invested a lot of time and energy into ensuring that I will be successful, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

In his sophomore year he was hired to work in the CSU, Chico University Farm Meats Lab, which took his passion for the livestock industry to a different level. At the Meats Lab, Clement is one of six hired students who help with the entire process, from live animal to processed product. The Meats Lab mainly serves as an educational facility, just like every other entity on the University Farm; however, Meats Lab employees also prepare retail cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and goat as well as processed products such as jerky, sausage, and cured meats. Clement has learned various aspects involved with the meat industry, such as product marketing, customer service, and federal food safety regulations. As another component to his position with the Meats Lab, Clement also helps run tests for University Farm research projects, such as a current project with Alturas Ranch.   

“I learned the harvesting process at home with my dad growing up, but the College of Ag provided me the opportunity to learn about meat processing and curing as well as proper food employee regulations, safety, quality, and working with the USDA,” Clement said. At home, Clement helps his dad with their livestock harvesting side business. It was here where he initially learned the harvesting process by being hired by locals in the community to process livestock with his father.

After graduation this May, Clement hopes to accept a position as assistant coach for the CSU, Chico Livestock Judging Team with Carlson. If offered the position, Clement will teach a livestock evaluations class and hopes to teach the lab component of the college’s meat science class. Throughout the year, he will travel with the team to support them at competitions around the country. He also plans to pursue a master’s degree in agriculture education at CSU, Chico. Clement hopes to one day teach at a high school where he can continue to coach livestock judging teams. He also plans to continue to build his own livestock judging career by judging livestock shows at county fairs and jackpots.