K-State agricultural facilities attract students

The Large Animal Research Center, on north Dennison Ave, facilities like this and Weber Hall and the livestock units that are in close proximity to campus are big selling points fir prospective students. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

As the population of animal sciences and industry students without an agriculture background grows rapidly at K-State, the university’s agricultural faculty and facilities become even more important. These points can be stressed in recruitment of exceptional new students.

The majority of people don’t live on farms, there are more students that have never had any agriculture or livestock experience than in earlier years.

“The animal sciences (and industry) professors and advisers both care about each individual student’s success and are very knowledgeable both in the industry and in an academia setting,” said Scott Schaake, adviser and associate professor in animal sciences and industry.

“We are naïve to how valuable our faculty are here until we go somewhere else,” Schaake said.

The K-State faculty are directly connected to the industry, are practical and technological, get asked to judge livestock shows and many even have their own livestock, according to Schaake.

“The Department of Animal Sciences attracts more than 30 percent of its students from out-of-state,” said Dave Nichols, professor in animal science and industry.

Stephanie Martin, junior in animal sciences and industry with a pre-vet option, said she applied to K-State because it is the No. 1 pre-vet school in the nation and chose it above other schools because, “everyone was so nice and talked to me about my academics. I felt at home here.”

Proximity to livestock units, facilities where the K-State livestock are raised and research is done, is a huge benefit to K-State students and faculty. There are 10 units and they are located within a mile of campus which makes utilizing them very easy and safe. Students are able to travel to the unit, learn and still be back within the 50 minute block, according to Kenneth G. Odde, department head of animal science and industry.

“Units are far less useful for teaching purposes if they are farther away,” Odde said.

These units are both research and teaching units. They can be used to reinforce concepts taught in the classroom and are also widely used by faculty as they perform their research said Schaake.

Odde said K-State is very lucky to have Weber Arena on campus attached to Weber Hall.

Nichols said the arena is invaluable in the fact that livestock can be brought to campus. Students don’t even have to get in a vehicle, they just have to walk across the building.

According to Odde, this approach is utilized a lot in freshman classes and works well because many will not have a vehicle with them the first year. This is safer, more time-efficient and still gives students experiential knowledge.

“I believe bringing livestock to campus is beneficial because some of the people in class don’t have any livestock background so it helps them to learn more and allows all of the students to see how the livestock industry really works,” Karley Stockton, freshman in animal sciences and industry, said. “I also feel like a real life example will always grab my attention more than a lecture.”

The units also employ university students. Odde said there are approximately 170 students with a $1 million payroll annually working for K-State at the agricultural facilities, most of which work at livestock units. This is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience while still in school, according to Odde.

Odde said these facilities not only benefit K-State students, but also the Manhattan community. The units employ many local residents, while using supplies provided by local businesses. Local repair shops, and farm and ranch supply stores to help keep the units running. There are also events like the K-State rodeo that are held each year in Weber arena.

K-State also processes meat and dairy products itself. All Call Hall dairy products are made from what the dairy unit produces and are processed in Call Hall according to the K-State facilities website. There is also a meat lab in Weber Hall with meat sales held every Friday.

Stockton said that in ASI 105 lab, students got to see market hogs live one week and in the cooler the next week, as well as market steers live one week and hanging in the cooler the next.

“K-State has a long history of commitment to undergrads,” Schaake said.