Viking Sow is classroom for NDSU students

posted on Thursday, May 4, 2017 in North Region News

AMVC and North Dakota Sow Center Viking Sow welcomed eleven North Dakota State University agriculture students to their sow farm for an out-of-class experience that complimented the students’ veterinary technology and animal science coursework.

The collaboration between AMVC Management Services and NDSU exposed the students to a modern 4,800 head sow farm near Langdon. Before the trip to the farm, the students were certified through Pork Quality Assurance, a program focused on food safety and animal welfare.

One of the students in the class was Langdon native, Larissa Jennings, a junior at NDSU majoring in veterinary technology. “I signed up for the class because I wanted to get experience with swine and was curious about the farm that is so close to where I live. I wanted to know what goes on there,” commented Jennings.
The on-farm course was led by AMVC employees, Dr. Joshua Barker, D.V.M., M.S., Tim Armentrout, senior technical advisor, Reid Nordstrom, production manager, Maria Marquez, Viking Sow farm manager and two past AMVC swine production interns who are currently in college.

The weekend class was divided into different sub-sessions, so the students could capitalize on their time at the farm. Each small group spent time in the breeding and farrowing departments where they learned about piglet care, record-keeping, herd health and genetics, as well as, helped with several tasks like assisting sows giving birth, drying off piglets, ultra-sounding sows and artificially inseminating sows. After mastering their technical skills, the following day they choose which department they wanted to spend more time in and get more practice with various tasks.

“This was a great opportunity to get my hands dirty. There isn’t too many ways to learn and become involved with swine. This class really helped me understand how the swine industry works. You can tell the people working here really have a passion for what they’re doing,” said Sarah Hoiland, a NDSU junior majoring in veterinary technology.

Each student actively participated in all on farm tasks. Jennings’ favorite part of the class was assisting sows giving birth. She was surprised at the size of the farm and thought the biosecurity measures were interesting, too.

“It was rewarding to interact with these students. They were excited to try their hand at any task and asked great questions throughout the class. You could tell the students had a sincere interest in learning and expanding their swine knowledge. We take pride in collaborating with NDSU and being a resource for their students,” said Viking Sow farm manager, Maria Marquez.

This is the second year that AMVC and NDSC Viking Sow hosted NDSU students.