RAYMOND – High school juniors and seniors considering careers in agriculture got a firsthand look Feb. 28 at technology that’s shaping jobs that determine which crops to plant and the quality of the average steak dinner, among others.

Ag Expo 2020 at the T.H. Kendall III Agricultural Complex at Hinds Community College Raymond Campus showcased those advances in the Animal Science Technology, Precision Agriculture and Veterinary Technology programs.

Jariyonna Cooper

Jariyonna Cooper, a student at Terry High School, works the controls of a combine simulator at Ag Expo 2020 at Hinds Community College Raymond Campus held Feb. 28. With her is Lee Douglas, agribusiness instructor. (Hinds Community College/Tammi Bowles)

Jariyonna Cooper, a junior at Terry High School, found herself behind the wheel of a farming combine for the very first time – all the while being next to the real thing a few feet away.

“I didn’t know what the machine did at first,” Cooper said. “The real combine seems so big compared to how it feels doing the simulator.”

Students also got a look at ultrasound equipment used in the animal science industry to show the eventual size and quality of a ribeye steak cut from an area near a cow’s ribs. Jobs in the poultry and beef industries can lead to careers in areas ranging from processing plant managers to research assistants.

“The poultry and beef industries are looking for people with the skill sets we hone here,” said Chad Davis, meat merchandising instructor. “There is a new bachelor of applied science degree program we have with Mississippi State University that will open up a lot of options.”

Several students checked out the latest teaching tools in Veterinary Technology, including a newly expanded x-ray room and ultrasound capabilities.

“Thanks to the college’s support, we’re now able to provide instruction on assistance with surgeries to remove small masses from dogs and cats,” said Martha Young, an assistant instructor in the program, adding the equipment helps add to a program that requires prospective students accumulate 35 hours of job-shadowing in actual veterinary clinics before applying to the program. “We get a lot of positive feedback from the veterinary medicine industry because our graduates come with a lot of hands-on experience.”

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