Tag Archives: learning

CURTIS, Neb. _ Educators have stretched teaching methods and hands-on learning platforms to a unique level of outreach.

When asked to “think outside the box” due to the coronavirus pandemic our faculty and adjunct instructors at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are adapting right along with our Aggie students on our educational delivery.

As a hands-on learning institution our course work continually builds on the ability to engage students in hands-on experiences throughout their time at NCTA.  We strive to master skills, and you cannot do that during one class period. We continue to work and build on these through multiple class and lab experiences.


Instead of two students climbing up into the cab of a large crop sprayer applicator to learn hands-on for precision farming skills, these Aggies are sitting in front of a personal computer, laptop or other digital device to view photographs or video shot by Agronomy Professor Brad Ramsdale.

“I went out and shot a bunch of pictures of my sprayer,” Ramsdale says. “Students are learning all of the components of the sprayer through photographs.”

Students answer questions through the internet with an online program called Canvas. Ramsdale’s course lectures and lab sessions that he fine-tuned for remote teaching during a March 16-27 timeframe, include PowerPoints, Zoom discussions and direct phone calls, as needed, to stay in touch with his students.

Agribusiness Management

Mary Rittenhouse, division chair, emphasizes student engagement from the three faculty who are teaching online for students in Agribusiness Management Systems. Macroeconomics, accounting, software, ag marketing, entrepreneurship, and critical thinking are half of the 12 courses taught remotely in AMS.

“I am including a Tip of the Day on each course posted on Canvas, a fun way to engage students,” Rittenhouse said. “The first to post the correct answer is mailed a small prize.”

On March 30, opening day for remote learning, the Canvas headline tip for Macroeconomics ECON 1303 was: “Do you know what is the most common culprit of online learning???”  The answer: TV

Veterinary Technology

While 35 Aggies are in their first year studying to be veterinary technicians, 31 second-years are on internships until the semester ends in early May.

“Every single veterinary clinic and internship location is assuring us that these students will be working and completing their internships, although there may be some slight changes in their businesses or operations,” says Barb Berg, LVT (licensed veterinary technician) and chair of the NCTA Veterinary Technology program.

Four VT faculty are teaching online, and in the case of facilities management and care for the animals in the teaching programs, a student or Chrissy Barnhart, administrative lab support associate, handle those responsibilities, seven days a week.

First-year students engage through Canvas lectures, videos, Zoom and posted assignments. Most live-time sessions are delivered via ZOOM, including face-to-face group or individual discussions with instructors. Recorded sessions and Canvas can be accessed online 24/7, Berg said.

Essential skills required by the American Veterinary Medical Association for graduates to make application to be licensed vet technicians will be taught during the regularly-scheduled summer session, June to August.

Equine Management

Canvas and Zoom platforms are mainstays in the Animal Science and Agriculture Education Division. However, students in equine courses may have the most unique form of learning and testing.

Joanna Hergenreder, division interim chair and equine professor, has students in other states completing their intermediate or advanced equitation courses with video. They record riding sessions on a mobile device, and send the file to Hergenreder. She can critique, complete with drawing lines or figures on the recording and return it to the student. Or, they can also gain coaching tips through a Zoom call.

On April 4-5, six or seven equine students have the option of completing their Colt Starting training class at NCTA with adjunct instructor Stephen Mueller. Each student will be able to put in three, 2-hour sessions in saddle work on their colt at the indoor arena. The large facility allows for safe, social distancing both while in the arena, as well as classroom time for a written exam.

These are a few examples of the creativity of NCTA instructors. I appreciate the extensive efforts and flexibility of faculty and students during this extraordinarily unique and challenging time. Please be safe and healthy, everyone.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — People of all ages walking around wearing ear buds seems to be a common sight in society today. Often it leads a person to wonder, “What are they all listening to?”

For cow/calf producers interested in learning practical information to address the challenges of raising beef cattle, it just might be the Kansas State University Beef Cattle Institute weekly podcast.

BCI Cattle Chat is a 25-30-minute podcast lead by moderator Brad White, BCI director and veterinarian will be posting its 100th episode on March 27, 2020. The weekly podcast features beef cattle health and management advice from Kansas State experts Bob Larson, veterinarian; Bob Weaber, beef cattle extension specialist; and Dustin Pendell, agricultural economist.

Those four began the podcast in July 2018 to bring together experts from the Kansas State College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine, White said.

“The goal of the podcast is to effectively communicate relevant, practical information for beef producers and veterinarians through this format,” White said. The format includes 5-8 minute segments on an array of beef cattle topics.

White said their listenership continues to grow. “Last month there were 5,474 downloads from 26 countries.”

With an increasing number of listeners, the podcast team continues to receive listener questions from Kansas and around the globe.

“Our team really appreciates the questions from listeners and the feedback we receive on the podcast. The listener questions allow us to directly address topics important to producers,” White said.

He also values the discussions that happen on the podcast, especially the ones with outside guests who join on occasion. Many of these guests are well-recognized experts in their field.

“I enjoy the interaction with our team and guests because everyone has a different perspective and we can discuss many sides of an issue,” White said.

To listen to this podcast search for BCI Cattle Chat wherever podcasts are found.

Ranchers interested in learning about the latest cutting-edge research in range livestock production from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are encouraged to register for the 2020 Nebraska Ranch Practicum offered by Nebraska Extension.

The practicum will be held during eight sessions over the course of three seasons in order to cover the production cycle of livestock and forage resources. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics, including the effective use of decision support tools to evaluate management and marketing alternatives, plant identification, range condition and grazing strategies, wildlife management, evaluation of cow body condition scores, and beef cattle production systems.

The practicum will be held June 8 and 9, July 9, September 2 and 3, and November 12, 2020, and January 13 and 14, 2021. Classroom activities will open and close the practicum in North Platte with the remainder of the classes conducted at the university’s Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory, a working ranch with education and research facilities, near Whitman.

The practicum can count for college or continuing education credit.

The registration fee is $675. The fee for a spouse is an additional $350. Registration covers educational materials, noon meals and breaks. Participants are responsible for travel and lodging expenses. The practicum can count for college or continuing education credit.

To register, submit a completed application and registration fee by May 1. Applications will not be accepted after that date. Enrollment is limited to 35 participants. Applicants will be notified of their status no later than May 21. Refunds will be issued if space is not available.

To learn more or register, visit https://nebraskaranchpracticum.unl.edu/ or contact Troy Walz at 308-872-6831 or troy.walz@unl.edu.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Registration is now open for the 2020 World Pork Expo presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Attendees, media and exhibitors can complete their registration by visiting the World Pork Expo website. This year’s trade show will be hosted from June 3 to 5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“We are thrilled to continue the tradition of the World Pork Expo this year,” said David Herring, NPPC president, and pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “There’s truly something for everyone at the Expo — from the trade show to networking. Anyone in the pork industry is encouraged to attend!”

With 360,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than 500 exhibitors are planned for the 2020 World Pork Expo.

Continually Maximizing Indoor and Outdoor Trade Show Space

Organizers plan to take advantage of all the space available in order to give attendees and exhibitors the best experience possible. Of the 500 plus companies attending the show, they will be displaying products and services from animal health, nutrition, build and equipment, financial marketing, genetics and more.

The Expo will be held in the Varied Industries Building and the Jacobson Exhibition Center, outdoors on Grand Avenue and the areas between the two main buildings. Attendees are encouraged to explore the fairground space to experience all the Expo’s offerings.

“We’re currently making adjustments around the show to maximize the flow of the entire trade show. This will help with show continuity for years to come,” said Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPCC.

Company-sponsored hospitality tents will continue to be around throughout the fairgrounds. Organizers are expecting 60 plus tents this year, giving industry representatives an opportunity to network with producers and employees in a more relaxed setting.

The trade show will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 3-4, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 5.

Start Planning Your Expo Experience

The Expo is packed with three days of learning and networking opportunities, events and activities. More than 15 educational and informational seminars are free to attend. These seminars address innovative production and management strategies, and current issues and topics related to the pork industry.

Other activities you won’t want to miss include:

  • MusicFest — Join us on Thursday evening to relax and enjoy free live music and refreshments. Stay tuned to find out who this year will feature!
  • Big Grill — Stop by and enjoy a free pork lunch during all three days of the Expo. More than 10,000 lunches are served! Lunches are available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • NPPC Hospitality Tent — Visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to learn about current legislation, regulation, and public policy issues that impact pork production.

Additional Registration Information

Registration is now available online until May 28. Tickets include entry to the Expo for all three days. Discounted rates are available during pre-registration including $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children (6 to 11 years old). Registration on-site will be $20 per adult. There is an on-site Friday-only option for $10.

Save the date for June 3-5 to visit Des Moines. Three days of education, fun, networking and delicious pork await you.