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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Students get hands-on experience at local dairy

Lake Campus ag class

By Nancy Allen
Students in a new agriculture development class at Wright State-University Lake Campus are getting hands-on experience at a local dairy farm ... reeaally hands on experience.
"They got to palpate cows the other night," said class instructor Katie Thobe, who is teaching the class.
Palpating is an internal exam of a cow to determine if she is receptive to breeding.
The agriculture development class is part of the Lake Campus' first ever agriculture leadership program, a one-year course of study that started this past winter quarter. Students can incorporate the agriculture leadership program into an associate's degree or into the Lake Campus' bachelor's degree in organizational leadership.
Thobe arranged for the agriculture development class to be held at the St. Marys dairy farm of Howard Homan, St. Marys.
"We really do have a good mix of kids who grew up or work on a farm and those who have never been on a farm," Thobe said of the 22 enrolled. "It's about half and half."
The first class was supposed to be held on the farm, but due to the busy harvest, it was held at the Lake Campus where a local grain marketing representative spoke. At the class held at the farm, two industry officials talked about advancements in artificial insemination. It was during this class that the students also got to palpate cows.
During this weekend's class, students will learn about livestock nutrition and the class after that will focus on new technology in the ag industry.
Thobe explained that the entire class is culminating toward an analysis of Homan's dairy operation based on students' learned knowledge and observations throughout the course.
"I wanted to be able to get students on the farm and get them practical, hands-on experience and I also wanted Howard to get some value out of having the class on his farm," Thobe said.
Student Damon Bertke is enjoying the class.
"I enjoy being a part of the ag program ... because it helps me to understand more than just the basics of farming," he said. "It goes deeper into things and really makes sure that the people who may not understand certain things are brought to the same level as the more advanced kids."
For more information about the ag leadership program, contact the Lake Campus at 419-586-0300.
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