Senior spotlight: Austin Waltman

AG students plans for a future in wildlife biology


Shelley Giesecke

Waltman plans a path to Montana State University

Grace Bush, Staff Writer

Are you in Ag?

Yes, I’m in FFA and I’ve shown pigs and welding projects for the last two years.

Describe what you do to participate in FFA and AG.

I raise pigs so I would get them in late August then feed them, walk them and take care of them everyday until their show day which was in February and March. For welding I’ve done two projects one was a deer feeder and the other was an 18 feet bumper pull car hauler trailer, both projects we built from the ground up out of raw materials.

Since you take care of multiple pigs, do you have a favorite? Does it have a name?

I name mine but some people don’t, it just depends on the person. They’re meat animals in the end but some people treat them like pets. All of them are different and have a personality like dogs so I definitely had a favorite between the two I raised this year. They’re names were Pancho and Lefty and Pancho was one I liked working with more.

Describe the shows you put your pigs in.

They go to a couple, both went to what’s called a chapter show which is a competition between just people in the Smithson Valley chapter, then Pancho went to the county show which includes everyone in Comal County, and Lefty went to San Antonio which is considered a major show and is state wide. San Antonio is like the Super Bowl of shows and is extremely competitive.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I’m going to Montana state university to study wildlife biology and pre vet medicine.

What’s your ideal job?

It kind of depends on which path I go, if I get into and go to vet school I want to be a livestock vet and work doctoring livestock for multiple ranches. If I don’t do vet school I want to work for the United States fish and wildlife service as a biologist researching multiple species of wildlife and help with conservation efforts around the country. 

Say you end up working for the United States fish and wildlife service, where would you like to be stationed? Where would you like to live?

That’s something I’ve debated a lot, honestly my plan is to let the job take me wherever it does. I’d love to come back to Texas or stay in Montana but I’d also like to move around some and live in multiple states before I settle down.

How will participating in AG help you get your dream job?

Well the industry is a lot about connections and I’ve been able to make a few through FFA. I also think it’s helped me get a taste of what I may be doing and affirm that it’s what I want to do as a career path. 

What are you doing now to prepare for college?

I’ve been applying for scholarships and have gone on a few visits to MSU. I’ve also been taking college credit classes all through high school so that I can be a few steps ahead and hopefully get a masters degree in 4 years.