Barn Manager Joe Payton: Every Day is Different

Barn Manager Joe Payton: Every Day is Different

by Andrea Blankemeyer M’20

Joseph Payton, M ‘19, co-barn manager at University of Findlay’s Dr. C. Richard Beckett Animal Science Building and Troy, Ohio native, started his career at Findlay in 2014. Payton, a graduate of UF’s Master of Business Administration Program, said that when he was pursuing his bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University, he seriously considered going on to graduate school to study veterinary medicine, but soon realized he found more enjoyment in the production area of animal science rather than medicine. 

A Day in the Life 

Payton said that his days as a UF co-barn manager entail “a little bit of everything,” which, he added, is really why he enjoys the production side of animal science. “You’re not doing the same thing every day,” he said.

“Our days typically start at 7 a.m., and to get started we usually walk through the barn and check on the animals and make sure they are all doing good from the night before. This is especially important during cold weather months,” he said. “We then oversee the student groups who feed the animals in the morning as part of their requirement to help out on the farm for classes and grades.” 

After the feeding is done, Payton explained, he typically does office work, checking emails as well as the agenda for the day, before running through a laundry list of tasks. These daily tasks can include anything from helping professors with labs, doing demonstrations for students, cleaning the barns out, checking water, and feeding hay, to taking care of any barn maintenance.   

Bonding Time

As a co-barn manager, Payton spends a majority of his time caring for the animals, as well as working closely with Farabee McCarthy, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of animal science and pre-veterinary studies, to set up breeding assignments. 

When the time comes for the females to give birth, Payton is there with the students to assist the animals through the birthing process. “It’s a great learning experience for the students. After the babies are born, it’s really important to keep an eye on them and make sure they’re bonding with their moms,” added Payton. 

A Manager and an Educator 

Payton not only works closely with students managing the animal feeding and breeding, he also teaches a class called Farm Equipment Management. “Animal science and equestrian students take this class to learn how to safely drive farm machinery,” he said. Payton, alongside UF animal science professors, also aids in teaching students in their labs and provides demonstrations. 

Rewarding Career

“Besides caring for the animals, teaching the students and watching them learn is fulfilling for me,” Payton explained. “It’s really fun to see a student who’s never driven a tractor before or been around farm equipment, get the hang of it and figure out how to operate the machinery. Getting to watch them improve every day is exciting.”