HIgh school students receive first-hand look at porl production

posted on Monday, March 21, 2016

Thanks to Sam and Brooke at the Buckeye site, students from the Anamosa FFA chapter received a first-hand look at pork production, biosecurity and the impact and contribution our employees make to keep the animals comfortable and healthy.

The students were juniors and seniors who are considering an ag-based career, explained Mrs. Arensdorf, the Ag Sciences Teacher at Anamosa High School who designed the class to infuse the classroom-based curriculum with experiential learning--a program where students partake in field trips and then reflect on what they observed and learned.

“I was part of an incredible experience that helped me gain a better understanding of things I’ve learned in the classroom, such as nutrition, husbandry and even anatomy,” said Madi, a senior who plans on attending Kirkwood Community College next year to pursue a degree in agriculture production.

At the Buckeye site students entered the farm just like any employee would—through the shower. “We talk about how biosecurity is such a huge aspect of raising animals, but when the students actually showered into a farm and saw first-hand the clean/dirty line, it really sunk in," said Arensdorf. "They talked all the way home about high level of accountability the employees have to the animals and to the farm.”

Once showered in, finishing manager, Sam, and her technician, Brooke, welcomed the students and gave them a tour of the site, walking them through the pens housing nursery-age pigs all while explaining feeding and nutrition, ventilation and how they organize the barn. “They were really impressed with the attention to nutrition, and all of the measures producers have in place—like gruel feeding or mash feeding—to help ease the transition from milk to feed,” said Arensdorf.

As they walked through the pens of pigs the students learned how Sam and Brooke visually assess the pigs, and how caretakers are trained to determine the health of a pig based on their breathing, clarity of their eyes, their ability to physically move around the pens and even the condition of their skin and hair.

Sam showed the students the hospital pen, where a small percentage of pigs identified as challenged were receiving specialized care in their own pen, free from being picked on by their pen mates. Two of the pigs were identified as needing to be euthanized because they were not recovering, and Sam explained the need to conduct a necropsy.

A necropsy, also referred to as “posting” allows the farm managers and vet staff to see and begin to diagnose the lungs and internal organs of a pig, which helps provide vital diagnostic information critical to prescribing the right treatment strategy. “Sam did a great job of explaining why they need to post from time to time and then demonstrated to the students, explaining exactly what she was looking for and how reporting this information to the veterinarians helps keeps the rest of the herd healthy,” said Arensdorf.

“It was an experience my class will never forget,” said Arensdorf. we’re thankful for managers like Sam who is not only passionate about her role in keeping pigs healthy and but also proud of her profession. She was a tremendous role model.” ‪#‎billionpounds‬