The author is extension dairy specialist and associate professor at New Mexico State University Ag Science Center in Clovis.
The U.S. Dairy Education and Training Consortium (USDETC) concluded its ninth year of hands-on dairy instruction and graduated 53 students from 23 different universities across the country. This group included a few international students.
Evidence this unique hands-on training program continues to grow in popularity amongst college juniors and seniors is that twice as many students applied for the program and competed for the 50 annual available slots.
During the program, students get exposed to classroom lectures from some of the best instructors our industry has to offer. Plus, the classroom material comes to life when visiting commercial dairy farms through laboratory sessions.
This class is a total six-week immersion into the dairy industry, the people, the technology, the allied industry, the issues, and the reality of dairying. The program is held in Clovis, N.M., home to approximately 60 different dairies within an hour's driving distance. It is the local dairy farmers that make the difference in the program. Producers share their experiences; reveal how they operate their facilities and why they do what they do. Allied industry visits and tours complete the picture.
It is a program that prepares the next generation of dairy owners, managers, and allied industry representatives for what it is they are about to embark on. For this next generation, it gives them a wide-angled view of industry options in areas ranging from nutrition to reproduction to human resources and financial management, herd health, and overall farm dynamics. The program teaches how to feed, breed, and treat one cow, but then extrapolates it to the herd level: the concept of large herd dairy management. Many students return home with the contacts and leads for jobs, internships, and other opportunities.
For more information, go to http://usdetc.tamu.edu.
July 5, 2016