What is the best type of college training to receive? Textbook or field trip with hands-on, practical learning? Or both? If you picked both, you are exactly right. Minnesota School of Business-Rochester (MSB) does just that for all programs, especially for programs that require strong technical skills. Amy Doherty, veterinary technology program chair, recently coordinated one such field trip. Check out how this in-demand training prepares our graduates for their careers:
Every quarter, “Where are we going this week?” is the the first question students in the Veterinary Technology Production Animals class ask. Classroom instruction only covers a certain amount of information, so field trips for hands-on experience are necessary. The number of production animals equals the diversity of training vet tech students experience. These animals include cows, alpacas, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.
Visits to area farms and businesses help expand students’ education. Staff also feel it’s easier bringing students to the animals, versus the other way around!
Week five of the quarter included a visit to Pagel’s farm near Chatfield, where students worked with cows. Pagel’s is a smaller dairy/beef operation, which milks about 60 head of cattle daily. The class requires competencies to be completed and some of these competencies cannot be simulated in the classroom. They all milked a cow, which was a first-time experience for some.
During week seven, students visited Northern Sky Alpacas in Dodge Center. Students had the opportunity to handle, observe and learn about the different elements of alpaca care.
Week eight featured a visit to Johnson Acres farm near Kasson. The students toured a large herd operation and saw all of the different phases of life. They saw the beginning stages of calving (giving birth) while on the tour. They worked with two different age groups of calves to complete competencies and to get a better understanding that it is tough work.
Brandi Christenson, a veterinary technology student who will be graduating this June, stated, “This tour was enjoyable because I was able to conquer some of my fears of working on large animals.”
In week nine, the class visited the All American Co-op in Stewartville, where students spoke with a production animal nutritionist about different types of feeds, formulations and appearances. As all good things come to an end, the day ended with a tour of the mill.
Learn more about the field of veterinary technology by contacting MSB-Rochester at 507-536-9500.