A West Virginia University senior has joined an elite group of college students to be recognized by the National Cattlemens Foundation (NCF) as future leaders in the beef industry.

Kevin Shaffer, an animal and nutritional sciences major in WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, was one of 20 students nationwide to be awarded a $1,500 2007 Beef Industry Scholarship.

He is only the second student from WVU to ever receive the prestigious scholarship. Alecia Larew Naugle, a 1995 animal and veterinary sciences graduate, was the first University recipient. Naugle is currently a veterinary epidemiologist with the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service in Washington, D.C.

Each year, the NCF honors outstanding, talented and thoughtful students who are pursuing careers in the beef industry. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or a full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two or four-year institution. They must also demonstrate a commitment to a career in the industry through classes, internships or life experiences.

Kevin is the type of individual who will one day be a leader in the beef industry,said Paul Lewis, director of the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences in the Davis College.The combination of his personal interest and intellectual abilities make him an excellent recipient for this scholarship.

Agriculture has always been a huge part of Shaffers life. A native of Philippi, W.Va., he grew up on a small beef cattle operation and participated in 4-H.

I grew very fond of the agricultural industry and decided to pursue a career not only in agriculture but in beef production,he said.

His knowledge of the beef industry has allowed him to plan for his futureboth in the short and long terms.

I would prefer to work in the industry doing breeding and genetics, but my long-term goal is to own and operate my own beef operation,Shaffer said.

He recognizes thatit will take a great deal of time, effort and financial supportto make his long-term goal a reality, and has decided to continue his education in graduate school at WVU where hell have the opportunity to work with the Davis Colleges study on feed efficiency in beef cattle.