Students take virtual field trip to AMVC sow farm

farm chat at pig farm

posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 in Central Region News

Audubon High School students in the Agriculture I course with Mrs. Brittany Elmquist, recently finished their unit on animal systems management where they studied animal identification, behavior, health and management. To provide the students with real-life exposure to modern pork production, AMVC public relations coordinator, Alicia Humphrey, was invited to host a FarmChat® for the students. By using a laptop at the school and a mobile device at the farm, students interacted in real-time with AMVC employees at a sow farm while remaining in their classroom seats.

With the use of Zoom, a video conferencing technology similar to Skype, 29 local students were able to visit Taurus Sow, an AMVC sow farm located just outside of Creston. This sow farm was recently rebuilt with wireless internet lining the farrowing barn hallway, providing AMVC the perfect location and opportunity to interact with local students. The students watched the live video on a large screen in their classroom and got a behind-the-scenes tour of a farrowing room or the area where mother pigs are giving birth.

Throughout the forty-minute virtual tour, Humphrey explained why sows are housed in farrowing stalls, what pigs eat, how the pigs’ manure is used as fertilizer, and where the piglets are transported after they leave the sow farm. Because a live video was streaming, the students could hear piglets nurse on their mother, watch sows drink water and see the technology function inside farm.

“The students loved the FarmChat®! Most of my students had never been inside a barn like this. They see the buildings from the road, but this enabled them to have an opportunity to see what happens inside. They loved the technology and were amazed at all of the feeding systems, heated mats and overall management of so many pigs,” said Audubon High School agriculture instructor, Brittany Elmquist.

The goal was to provide the students with a better grasp of a productive modern commercial sow farm and help them connect their studies to the farm.

“This was a great conclusion to our lesson. The students could see how what they learned in the classroom can be applied to raising pork,” added Elmquist.

The students had the opportunity to ask questions throughout the virtual tour to learn more about pork production practices.

Elmquist was impressed with the tour by AMVC employees, “The students were amazed at how many animals were able to be raised and cared for. They enjoyed learning more about the animal’s health and safety with raising hogs indoors. It’s important for our students to have the facts and fully understand the pork process.”

AMVC supports agriculture education and is happy to help local students learn about the modern swine industry.


  1. ag education
  2. agvocacy
  3. community
  4. swine