Newman wins agriscience award

Published 1:20 pm Thursday, October 1, 2015

After taking home a first-place award for his agriscience project at the Virginia State Fair, Cumberland resident Jordan Newman recently won the fourth-place highest silver award at the Eastern States Exposition, or the Big E, in Springfield, Mass.

The Cumberland Middle School eighth grader’s project, focused on the health and weight of baby lambs, gave him the opportunity to compete in the Eastern Regional Future Farmers of America (FFA) contest, according to a press release.

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Newman, a member of the middle school’s newly reestablished FFA chapter, was by far one of the youngest competitors at the Big E — the biggest state fair east of the Mississippi River — which sees hundreds of students from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to FFA adviser and Cumberland agriculture teacher Lindsay Talbott.

Newman’s grandfather, Henry Paris, a sheep farmer in Cartersville, was instrumental in getting his grandson involved in raising and caring for sheep.

“My grandfather, he used to raise sheep,” Newman said, “so I started raising sheep and showing them. And so, then … I started doing FFA and then this year I started doing [an] agriscience fair project and so I got first place in my age division [in the state competition].”

“He wanted to do it again with me. …,” Paris said of his grandson’s involvement.

Newman, who’s been involved in 4-H for four years and FFA for about two, has won approximately 15 awards for showing sheep.

“I wasn’t really nervous … It was fun,” Newman said of attending the Big E.

Paris said that both Jordan and his twin sister Elizabeth currently care for about 20 sheep.

“Now they’ve gotten to the point where they’re starting to raise their own lambs that they show,” Paris said of the siblings.

“We used our 25-ewe flock and we gave birth to all of them,” Newman said, explaining his project. “Out of all the ones that survived, we weighed them, we weighed the baby lambs each week and then we put the data in a logbook.” After compiling the data, he says he graphed it out on a computer and created a presentation with his findings.

Newman’s hypothesis was “that the three and four-year-olds were going to do better and their lambs were going to weigh more each week.”

He plans on continuing his research project next year, Newman said, by using the same ewes and ram “and do the same thing, just compare the data.”

“I was really very proud of him [and] very excited about it,” Paris said. The retired agriculture teacher hopes Newman will make it to the national contest next year. Jordan said he thinks he has a future career in agriculture.

Newman is working on another agriscience project where he’s determining if broccoli grows better in shade rather than sunlight. He plans on presenting this at a future state fair, along with showing sheep.

“He’s a great kid, a hard worker and dedicated to the FFA,” Talbott said of Newman. “He saw his project all the way through to the Big E. I couldn’t be more proud, representing Cumberland during its inaugural period.”

Jordan is the son of Melissa and Doug Newman, of Cartersville.