Philip Gentry

Philip Gentry (left), now the agriculture and youth livestock director for the Georgia National Fair livestock shows, is pictured with student Chase Spence at a cattle show. Photo contributed

Fairing Quite Well

Following a decade in agricultural education, Philip Gentry Jr. (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’06) has moved out of the classroom and onto the fairgrounds.

After 10 years as an agriculture teacher at Perry High School in Perry, Georgia, and led by his passion for the Georgia 4-H Junior Livestock Program, Gentry seized the opportunity this June to become agriculture and youth livestock director for the Georgia National Fair livestock shows in Perry.

“I was passionate about teaching agriculture and felt like we had a good program at Perry High School and still do. We have laid down some things that are going to make that program successful for a while,” Gentry said. “This, though, was one of those jobs that, when you’re out here as an agriculture teacher or somebody using the fairgrounds, you’d think, ‘Man, that’d be a neat job to do.’ I am passionate about this Junior Livestock Program. When the job came open, I saw a real opportunity to influence the Junior Livestock Program in an even greater way than having students out here showing livestock.”

As director, Gentry is in charge of all livestock and horse show events that are held at the fairgrounds. His office is charged with enabling shows and providing support for events that occur every weekend at the fairgrounds, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Even living in town, I had no idea this place was this busy,” Gentry said. “There are many different types of people that use this facility and it’s been neat to work with them.”

Showing livestock has been a lifelong passion for Gentry, who grew up in Houston County, Georgia. He attended Perry High School, was involved in the local FFA chapter and showed livestock at the fairgrounds every year. Even when Gentry started teaching in Perry, his classes were, on average, responsible for 45 head of cattle and between 60 to 80 head of hogs.

Now, Gentry interacts with students and teachers every weekend, and provides guidance and his experience to a thriving program in Georgia.

“It’s been an eye-opening experience for me. I have enjoyed getting to learn some of the parts of this position and getting to know the people out here,” Gentry said. “It’s been interesting to get to work with these people and learn what they do every day.”