WRITTEN BY Jonathan Barber firstname.lastname@example.org
The logistics of agriculture, livestock treatment, veterinary medicine, and animal production all overlap and intermingle in various ways, becoming an interwoven web of intricate complications where one step in one way can widely spread to the others.
Flying over from Algeria, six fellows in this wide array of fields working in all sorts of places, from the lab, the farm, to even private clinics of their own, have touched down to NC State for a two week training program to get a fuller understanding of fields in an American context, as well as give various owners of the businesses and processes they’ve toured an insight of similarities and differences that happens within their home country.
First arriving here, they went to Stateview, their hotel, and explored the area in a more casual manner for the weekend before diving into the training activities. They started with a welcome and orientation with the CALS International Programs team.
After a proper welcoming session, they were brought into one of the first major sessions, learning the US Land Grant System, to properly understand how farm owners and the University gets its land rights, and how they designate them for the various things they use it for, for the University itself, to all the various farms and factory under its purview.
They started out the day with a talk with Dr. Paul Siciliano, Animal Science Departmental Extension Leader about Livestock Extension. Livestock Extension is the profession of advising consumers, investors, and the industry at large, to make better decisions about the proper care of livestock, like cattle, sheep, and chickens. This talk with Dr. Siciliano gave them an insight to the efforts made to not only better the system, but also to inform upcoming generations of the craft so it can continue prosperously. He also highlighted the NC State Extension facilities and how to access Extension resources on the NC State Extension website.
But that wasn’t the only highlight of the day, they were also able to go down to the Howling Cow processing plant and meet with the director of education there, Carl Hollifield . Getting a tour of the processing lab to see how they treat the milk they get from their cows, and turn it into ice cream, but also get to taste test a fresh sample themselves.
They started off the day early to go right into meeting with the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association’s Executive Director, Byran Blison. The NCCA is a non-profit organization that promotes the North Carolina beef industry, from cattle raising and auctioning, to collaborating with the beef industry at large. Here the fellows and the Director had a lengthy discussion on both the various differences the beef and cattle industries have in Algeria and the U.S. Topics ranging from vaccinating the cattle, artificial insemination, and even the very grass cattle ate being different and having to be prepared differently due to the climate of where they’re raised, resulting in a long, and exhaustive discourse between the two groups.
After that enthused discussion they returned to NC State campus r for a presentation on pasture based dairy, how dairy benefits from cows getting a sizable amount of their food from organic grass grown from pastures from Dr. Stephanie Ward, Assistant Professor of Dairy Extension,Dr. Shannon Davidson, Extension Associate, and Dr. Derek Foster, Assistant Professor of Ruminant Health Management.
They start of the day a Zoom Session with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association to talk about the industries they support. Speaking to the Fellows of not only their research, but their outreach efforts to spread awareness of the industry’s growth.
Afterwards, they were brought into the NC Library of Veterinary Medicine to have a discussion on poultry health management, and the different management systems they have for diseases, with Dr. Rocio Crespo of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.
The fellows were treated with a double treat of a back to back tour of processing units owned by NC State, first the Carroll Joyner Beef unit, and then the NC State University Dairy Unit. Treated to a discussion of the management after each respective tours, they cap off their first week with a meeting with Kasimu Ingawa, Software Project Manager at Dairy Records Management Systems.
After a weekend of exploring the culture of Raleigh, the fellows started off the week with a tour of NC State’s Veterinary Medicine’s Diagnostic Laboratories with Dr. Megan Jacobs, Director of Diagnostic Laboratories, learning how they identify various diseases and genetic disorders within animals and develop new ways to diagnose them to benefit both the cattle, and poultry industries.
Afterwards they had a meeting with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In particular, they met with Dr. Catherine Harris, Director of Livestock Programs, veterinarian Dr. Aaron Loucks, Dr. Leslie Kent with APHIS, and Cathy Ma and Neil Bowman , in charge of international marketing. Leading to a session about their Veterinary efforts, as well as how the marketing of Livestock works for international trade.
Their final session of the day was marked off with talking to Dr. Siddhartha Thakur, Director of Global Health at NC State, about the University’s Global Health Program. Dissecting the school’s efforts to improve the health of all living beings, plant, animal, or human.
This was a lighter day to make up for the packed ones they’ve had before, starting off with a talk with Dr. Vivek Fellner to learn about improving gut health in cattle by linking it with the nutrients they get from their feed, before driving all the way down to a farm on a field trip, to get a better look on how a personal farm is run, as well as get a lesson on fertility management while they were there.
They do another beef and dairy touring venture back to back. First visiting a local beef operation with high marks called Baldwin Beef, to get an overview and tour of the entire production process on a local scale, and then doing the same at a local dairy farm called Chapel Hill Creamery.
They started off their final day with a session about the Food Safety Modernization Act, a law passed in January 2011 to give the FDA more authority over food regulation, particularly how they’re grown, harvested, and processed, afterwards, they were given a quick final tour of NC State’s feed mill.
After all the sessions, discussions, learning, and all the places of North Carolina they visited in the short amount of time they were here to learn. The fellows were all individually awarded their certificates proving that they’ve completed the training.
After two weeks of educating themselves of all the intricacies of the industries of livestock, farming, animal health and reproduction, and even the laws surrounding them, the Fellows went home to Algeria, satisfied with all they’ve learned, and ready to apply their knowledge to the field as soon as they could.