Teaching Youth about Pigs: ADS 4221-Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences

Note:  This blog post was written by a group of students in the Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences course, who were assigned to work with youth in a neighboring county to teach them about pigs.

Here Piggy Piggy! This semester our group was assigned the swine species. We were
tasked with teaching 6 cloverbud students all about pigs in a manner that targeted their interests and attention level. With such a small group, we were able to give one on one attention during each of our 3 activities. We had an amazing time getting to know the students and teaching them about an industry that affects everyday life. Though the kids enjoyed all the activities, they were particularly fond of playing in the simulated mud. We had an abundance of questions and interaction between the students and their parents, as well as with us. Each child had an area that they were more familiar with, however everyone left with new knowledge. At the end of the presentation, each student took home a bag of mud, a separate bag of bacon and pepperonis, a pig head cut out used for ear notching identification, and a mobile that showed multiple products obtained from pigs.

Our strategy for this presentation was to break down the activities into 3 main sections. We had product, nutrition/health, and identification sections with a hands on activity attached to each. Since we had 6 members in our group, we split and had 2 “teachers” per activity. We had group meetings to discuss each activity and to gather supplies. Every person worked diligently to develop their part of the presentation thoroughly. Overall, the entire group was pleased with our progress and deem this presentation a major success.

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ADS 4221: Capstone: Nutrition for pasture based pigs

Note: This blog post was written by a group of students in the Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences course, who were assigned to work with a local livestock producer to solve a production challenge.

“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said ‘I need a caretaker’ so God made a farmer.” In 2014, our partner woke his wife in the middle of the night and told her of his dream to become a farmer. Since then, his dream has slowly become reality as his pasture pig operation has hit the ground running, literally.

In all start-up businesses there are going to be obstacles, especially when animal agriculture is involved. Our producer has requested the help from Mississippi State University to address some of their farms challenges in terms of nutrition. The farm’s objective is to raise hogs from birth and finish them out at a reasonable market weight. Based on the niche market in which this farm operates, the diet and management of the herd differs compared to common hog production guidelines. Our primary objective is to create multiple rations for this herd using alternative feedstuffs. In order to not only maintain the body condition of the animals based on their own requirements, but to reduce overall cost of feed and improve upon their management practices.

To do this, we have used resources provided through the university, faculty, and extension service, as well as literature from the Journal of Animal Science. We have developed a framework of both short and long-term modifications to implement as needed. Such as adding infrastructure, harvesting crops, processing feeds, and breeding techniques.

We are grateful for this opportunity to interact with the community and local producers in agriculture. Not only have we been able to help and educate others, but we, as students, have learned a lot along the way.

“That’ll do Pig.” –Babe (1995)

Palo Alto Piglets