Stanley-Boyd High School student Kaylee Bourget prepares to reach into a simulator to examine a bovine reproductive system while CVTC student Bryce Tiffany of Elmwood looks on during the Ag Skills Competition at CVTC’s Energy Education Center in Eau Claire March 7.
Stanley-Boyd High School senior Kaylee Bourget pulled a long plastic sleeve over her arm and prepared to reach deep inside a bovine reproduction system to examine the ovaries. That’s usually not part of a high school student’s day, but it wasn’t a problem for Bourget. This was only a simulator at the Chippewa Valley Technical College Ag Skills Competition, and she’s done that sort of thing for real.
“I worked on a farm and we always did artificial insemination,” she said. “Then we had to do it for a class too.”
Clearly, Stanley-Boyd High School students are quite familiar with the hands-on parts of animal science and were well-prepared for the annual event.
Students from 15 high schools attended the Ag Skills Competition this year, which included tours of CVTC’s Energy Education Center where the college agriculture programs are housed, interaction with CVTC Agriscience students, and a trip to the nearby Eau Claire Farm Show.
CVTC holds the Ag Skills competition each year so high school students from a wide area can come to Eau Claire for a day of ag education. The Dairy competition involves teams of students completing tasks at multiple stations, like evaluating feed rations, determining a proper medicinal dosage for a cow, and identifying common animal science tools. There were also competitions in Agronomy and Floriculture.
A Stanley-Boyd team finished first in the Floriculture contest and student Ben Milas was second in Agronomy. Two Stanly-Boyd teams finished third and fourth with 92 and 90 points in the Dairy contest behind two Chippewa Falls teams with 94 and 93 points.
“This goes hand-in-hand with all the dual credit agreements we have in agriculture classes with our partner high schools,” said CVTC Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation Adam Wehling. “And we want to get the students to our campus so they can see what we have to offer.”
“We teach Horticulture and Animal Science classes with CVTC transcripted credit, so it’s good for the students to come here and see that what they are learning is what is being taught to college-level students,” said Amy Gerhardt, Agriscience teacher at Neillsville High School. “Plus this is good preparation for the contest in River Falls they have coming up.”
“This is a great partnership with CVTC and the local high schools,” said CVTC Agriscience Instructor Adam Zwiefelhofer. “These are our future students. It gives them a quick snapshot of what we do on a daily basis. It allows them to get to know the faculty.”
Zwiefelhofer acknowledged that the competition encourages students to consider furthering their education in agriculture and is a great recruiting tool for CVTC, but it’s also about learning and sharpening knowledge and skills in agriculture.
“I’m getting experience and putting my knowledge to the test and maybe furthering by knowledge of stuff I didn’t know,” said Neillsville student Don Cappadora, who also had experience with bovine reproduction systems prior to the simulator station at the competition.