Ag majors get their hands dirty

Students prepare for the World Beef Expo in Milwaukee

Just off of Highway 81 nestled on College Farm Road there is a part of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville that only a small fraction of people is aware of.

The Pioneer Farm which “focuses on providing quality education, research and outreach opportunities while promoting the agricultural industry” according to the farms website, it provides students the chance to get their hands dirty at one of the four enterprises; crops, dairy, beef and swine.

This fall, seven agricultural students are not afraid to get their hands dirty and have taken on the task of working with five show heifers and bulls at the Pioneer Farm’s beef center. The students have been working with the livestock since the beginning of the school year in order to be ready for the World Beef Expo, especially since there is a lot of hard work that goes into it.

“You start by halter breaking them (the calves) and get them comfortable to being around you. After that you start brushing, washing, and blow drying the calves, just getting them show ready,” senior agriculture business major Kelsie Summers said.

Kadi Walsh, senior, animal science major has been showing for the farm since her freshman year. She echoes the process that Summers described, stating that the steps are pretty standard for the beef show    industry.

Getting an animal ready for show can be a very time consuming. Walsh compares it to being involved in a sport or working a part- time job but says she doesn’t mind the time commitment because of what she gains.

“There are many opportunities presented at Beef Expo. I not only get to learn more about myself as a showman and professional, but also about the industry through many networking events,” Walsh said. “It also allows me to build on important attributes like good sportsmanship, responsibility and always doing my absolute best.”

You can see the Pioneer Farm at the World Beef Expo Sept. 22 – 25. The event is held in conjunction with the Harvest Fest at Wisconsin State Fair Park.