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Blinn students volunteer 1,400 hours at Washington County Fair

Agricultural Science and Veterinary Technology students gain valuable experience in support of the oldest county fair in Texas

September 28, 2017

The Blinn College Agricultural Science Club and Veterinary Technology Program students volunteered more than 1,400 hours at the 149th Washington County Fair.

“These kids have access to technology and they can go out and do all types of extensive research on any subject matter we talk about in class, but very few of them have had the opportunity to apply it to the real world and see how it works,” said Bryn Behnke, Assistant Dean for the Division of Agricultural and Natural Sciences. “The fair is the perfect start-up because they get to see how shows are run, and be exposed to the information that we are going to be giving them throughout the semester.”


 

Blinn College Veterinary Technology student Kymber Hammond prepares to collect a sample from the grand champion colt at the 2017 Washington County Fair


 

More than 100 agricultural science students combined to volunteer approximately 1,000 hours in the open steer and heifer show, the open Brahman show, the Special Needs Livestock Judging Competition, and the 4-H and Livestock judging contests. In addition, Blinn’s agriculture mechanics team judged, presented awards, and ran the Washington County Ag Mechanics Show.

For the second consecutive year, all 20 students enrolled in Blinn’s Veterinary Technology Program volunteered at the fair, combining to total approximately 400 hours of service. With the supervision of Interim Program Director Dr. Amanda Keiffer, students collected urine samples for commercial heifers, turkeys, commercial pen heifers, colts, lambs, goats, steer, commercial halter heifers, and carcass hog shows.

“For some students, this might be the first exposure they have had to livestock or agricultural events, and for those who have been in the program a little longer, it helps them build relationships,” Keiffer said. “They really enjoy it, and there is so much for them to learn and teach others about that it really is a beneficial event for them.”

Last year, Washington County and Burleson County donated funds to the Veterinary Technology Foundation in recognition of Blinn students’ participation at Washington County Fair.

“This is a profession of service,” said Dr. Keiffer. “It is important to our program to have that experience serving the community and educating the community.”

At least 80 Blinn students have volunteered at Washington County Fair each of the past 10 years. During the 2016-17 school year, Blinn’s Ag Science Club totaled 5,500 hours of community service in 120 events.

“With the Washington County Fair being right next door to us at Blinn College, our students have always taken a prominent role in volunteering,” said Bryn. “These kids get to meet and interact with people who are leaders in the community, so it is a win-win for us, the students, and the community.”

Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program offers course seating for approximately 1,100 students, making it roughly four times the size of any other two-year agricultural program in the state. Blinn offers agricultural science classes on all of its campuses, with the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex in Brenham serving as the program’s hub.

In addition to its excellence in the classroom, Blinn offers extracurricular educational activities in the areas of livestock judging, agriculture club, wildlife, agriculture mechanics, horticulture and agriculture sciences. For more information on Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program, visit: www.blinn.edu/agriculture.

Blinn’s Veterinary Technology Program is one of just nine accredited programs in the state that offers veterinary technology training. The College’s partnership with Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences allows Blinn students to get hands-on training in every aspect of the wide-ranging field.

After earning their Associate of Applied Science, program graduates are eligible to take their state and national exams to become fully-credentialed licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs), with an average starting salary of $31,000. While most LVTs work in private practices, graduates also find employment with animal shelters, stables, reproductive facilities, zoos, wildlife facilities, pharmaceutical sales, the military and homeland security.

For more information about Blinn’s Veterinary Technology Program, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/vet_tech/.