RAYMOND – High school seniors considering careers in agriculture got a sneak peek Feb. 23 at the newest technology shaping careers in various animal sciences.
Ag Expo 2018 at the Kendall Agricultural Complex at Hinds Community College Raymond Campus showcased those advances in the Animal Science Technology, Precision Agriculture and Veterinary Technology.
Ultrasound equipment showed the probable size and quality of a ribeye cut from the area near a cow’s ribs, all displayed on a computer monitor before students’ eyes.
“We take images to see how much inner muscular fat the animal has so we know he or his offspring will make choice beef,” said Dr. Rhonda C. Vann, research professor with Mississippi State University housed at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center where Hinds’ Ag facilities are located.
Gabbi Walters, a senior at Pelahatchie High School, stepped up with classmates for a closeup with the subject cow as she plans a career in Animal and Dairy Sciences.
“My grandfather has a farm and I’m active in Rankin County 4-H, so it has shaped my life,” Walter said.
The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, known popularly as drones, is changing the way large-scale farming is done worldwide. Agribusiness Technology Instructor Lee Douglas is ideal for students who might start college, then look to switch to something new and challenging.
“Hinds provides a great way to expose you to different things going on like this,” Douglas said. He also moderated as students took turns driving a farming combine simulator, which provided a high-def virtual view of a field of row crops and broke down stats like fuel efficiency and overall productivity of the crop.
Anna Gill, also a Pelahatchie senior, took the wheel and, virtually, took it for a spin.
“We have cattle farm in my family, beef mostly, so I’m also interested in the programs here,” Gill said.
Groups of students in agriculture or animal science-related programs at their respective school also toured the Veterinary Technology program, now housed in a larger facility at the ag complex.
Savannah Culpepper, a junior at Rebul Academy, took note of the program’s offerings with interest.
“I like working with animals, and I’d be the first vet in my family,” Culpepper said.