Students Thriving in the Swine Industry

AMVC Student Employees

posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 in AMVC Employee Blog

Student-Employees build their swine experiences with AMVC.

Youth organizations like 4-H and FFA have played an important part in connecting students to agriculture. They’ve not only brought agriculture to the classroom but have also created opportunities for students to apply their learning through practical experiences. That’s exactly what two AMVC student-employees, Blythe Bolender and Peyton Schultes, were able to do with their time in FFA and their roles as swine specialists for AMVC.

Blythe AMVC Student EmployeeBlythe Bolender took an interest in livestock from a very early age. “My life with livestock started at birth,” she shared. “I grew up on a small, family dairy farm and spent the first five years of my life around cattle.”

Although her family decided to sell their cattle, her interest in livestock never left. Her mom later began working at a local sow farm managed by AMVC Management Services. Blythe spent time shadowing her mom in the farrowing room and decided to apply for a job at the farm, too.

“After job shadowing and falling in love with pig farming, my mom and the farm’s production manager, Mike Mullady, helped me get an interview and start my first job at the age of 15.”

Blythe started at Broadview farm near Greenfield, Ohio, four years ago. As a student-employee, she helps monitor and assist sows as they give birth, cares for newborn piglets, feeds and waters pigs, and artificially inseminates sows.

“It’s a perfect job for people in school because it's flexible around school and sports, and there are so many learning opportunities,” she shared. “Overall, it is a good experience to have under your belt and helps in the long run.”

In addition to her part-time job, Blythe was also involved in her high school’s FFA chapter. She used her hours working at the sow farm for her supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project. FFA’s SAE projects are student-led, work-based learning experiences. Each year, students submit records of their projects to be judged on a local, state, and national level.

Blythe was one of four state finalists in Ohio for the FFA proficiency award in swine production placement and won first place. She went on to compete against 26 other students at nationals in November of 2022 and became one of four national finalists for her project. She credits her experience in FFA and her work at the sow farm for furthering her love of agriculture and livestock.

“Agriculture has always been my passion, and my job through AMVC has propelled my passion into what it is now,” said Blythe. “My job combined with my experience in FFA really developed my passion for agriculture and led me to my college major choice.”

Today, Blythe attends Wilmington College, majoring in animal science with a business minor, and continues to work part-time at the sow farm.

Peyton AMVC Student EmployeePeyton Schultes, another AMVC student-employee, works as a swine specialist at Roanoke farm near Audubon, Iowa. Peyton was actively involved in her school’s FFA chapter and used her part-time job as her swine-production SAE project.

“While working with pigs, I’ve learned the different treatment and dosage options for treating pigs and that they are very smart and gentle animals,” Peyton said. She helps in all areas of the barn but has discovered her favorite place is the farrowing room, where she assists pregnant sows in giving birth and cares for newborn piglets.

Peyton’s time working at the barn allowed her to implement what she had learned in the classroom. “It is a great opportunity to extend your learning,” she shared. “Many high schoolers don’t get the chance to work with animals, so it is a great opportunity for people who love pigs to get the chance to work for AMVC.”

Between her time in FFA and hands-on learning at the farm, Peyton’s experiences have allowed her to expand upon her knowledge when it comes to pigs and agriculture in general. She emphasized that “ag serves many purposes to everybody around the world.” 

Peyton graduated from Coon Rapids-Bayard High School in May of 2023 and will attend Des Moines Area Community College and major in agricultural business this fall.


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