Pioneer Farm Provides Hands-On Experience


Jacob Thomas photo

Pioneer Farm is located less than 10 minutes east of campus and has three enterprises: beef, swine and dairy.
These enterprises offer a variety of different opportunities for student workers, from milking to feeding to farrowing and so much more. Student employees are able to get in on the action while working on the farm. Between the three enterprises, there are currently 27 students on payroll.
The hands-on experience that the school farm provides to students is another way that many UW-Platteville students are able to build their professional portfolio.
Kristen Felton is a junior studying Dairy Science with a minor in Agribusiness. She is also the calf barn manager at the dairy enterprise. Kristen began working on the farm during the spring of her freshman year and has learned considerably over the past couple of years.
When asked what her favorite part of working on the farm is, she stated, “I enjoy seeing calves that were born when I first started, that I got to raise, now entering the milking herd. I enjoy getting to see the calves come full circle in the operation.”
Kristen also shared that while working on the farm as the calf barn manager, she has learned not only how to manage the calves, but also how to manage the other student employees in the calf barn. A large part of her job involves recording the behavior of the calves, making sure that the barn is clean and that calves are healthy.
While many of the students taking part in the work on Pioneer Farm have some sort of background in agriculture, not all are experienced with working with the dairy, beef or swine industries and for them, the farm is a new learning opportunity.
The Pioneer Farm also holds learning opportunities for students who may be native to the industry as there is technology on the farm that students may not have worked with before. There are also opportunities for students to work independently on projects such as research.
Hands-on experience is important for students when entering the workforce and the experience that some students obtain on the Pioneer Farm may help them get a job.