RAYMOND – High school seniors considering careers in agriculture got a firsthand look March 1 at technology that’s shaping jobs that determine which crops to plant and the quality of the average steak dinner, among others.
Ag Expo 2019 at the Hinds Community College Bull Test Station and Sales Arena on the Raymond Campus showcased those advances in the Animal Science Technology, Precision Agriculture and Veterinary Technology programs.
Ultrasound equipment can show the size and quality of a ribeye cut from the area near a cow’s ribs, all displayed before students’ eyes on a computer screen and operated by 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.
“We can also use it to see if a cow is pregnant or not, or check what stage of its breeding cycle it is in,” Vann said.
It’s more than just aerial photography when the farmers of today and tomorrow use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, popularly known as drones, to map where best to plant crops.
Unmanned Aerial System technology worldwide has created jobs and expanded is scope into cell tower inspection, livestock management and environmental monitoring, said Lee Douglas, Agribusiness Technology instructor.
Douglas also explained the usefulness of drones as damage assessment tools during times of crisis, such as the recent flooding along the Lower Mississippi River Basin.
“What kinds of problems are we having right now with agriculture? Everything is wet,” Douglas said. “The Mississippi Delta is about to be under water. If you’re a farmer there right now, you probably have some of these instruments on your fields and crops. If you can’t get your crop in the ground right now because your field is under water, you’re going to lose some money.”
Several students from Terry High School checked out the latest teaching tools in the college’s Veterinary Technology program, including a life-like prototype of a dog on which students use to perform vital veterinary procedures. Many wanted to translate an interest in animals into a possible career in veterinary science.
“First, I wanted to be a doctor, but now I’m interested in being around animals,” said Briana Boyd, who listened to Vet Tech instructor Dr. Lynn Johnson explain the ins and outs of how the manikin functions as a teaching aid.
Fellow Terry High junior Riley Cheatham took keen interest in all the program has to offer.
“I’m interested in it because I was raised around all different types of animals,” Cheatham said. “That includes horses and a duck.”