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AgPRO students at Irvine School excelled in course

Posted on March 28, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman
Commentator/Courier Photo ssubmitted AGPRO beef course: AgPRO Beef students from Irvine School on the cattle scale at Medicine Hat Feeding Company, the students weighed in at just over 3,000 lbs. Toby Newton, Livestock Specialist for South Country Co-op Cypress Agro Centre, with first place winners of the low-stress cattle handling system project Alexis Weir and Senya Hietamaa and second-place winners Katelyn Sheppard and KariDee Millington. Teacher Logyn Jacksteit is on the far right.

By Samantha Johnson,
Prairie Rose Public Schools Content Writer

The first AgPRO Beef course at Irvine School wrapped up recently with students presenting their final project, a low-stress cattle handling system, to teachers Logyn Jacksteit, Nichole Neubauer and Toby Newton, Livestock Specialist for South Country Co-op Cypress Agro Centre, stepped in as the judge. The project aimed at giving students the chance to apply what they learned over the six weeks of the course and was done in groups of two.

Newton was impressed with the quality of all the cattle handling systems presented. 

“You all did an awesome job, the way you thought about how you laid it out, put water in all the pens, you thought about places for them to calve, the way the alleys work. You’ve all done a marvelous job and I did have trouble finding a first and second place,” Newton told the students. “You’ve taken a lot on board and justified what you’ve done…that is testament to how much you listened.”

Even though the girls were outnumbered two to one in the class, both the winning pairs were female. The second-place team, Katelyn Sheppard and KariDee Millington, spent about 30 hours on their project and said they learned lots on the field trips and appreciated being able to apply that information when they were in class.

The first-place team, Alexis Weir and Senya Hietamaa, each won a hat and a $50 Co-op gift card. They didn’t think they were going to win as there were so many good handling systems presented. During the past week before the project presentation, the group worked on their system each day for a couple of hours to perfect it.

The week before the final project, the class took their final field trip to the Medicine Hat Feeding Company where they spent a couple of hours learning about selling and auctioning cattle. After a general introduction, the class headed upstairs to hear about the importance of brands and how they are checked when cattle come in. They also heard how cattle rustling is still an issue, although not so much in Southern Alberta as up north and in Texas.

Outside, the students had a tour of the holding and sorting pens, which took about 20 minutes. Before heading back inside, the group, minus the teachers, gathered on the cattle weigh scale and their combined weight came in a just over 3,000 lbs. Once inside, the students sat in the seating above the auction pen and heard about how much organization and administrative work is required for an auction house to run smoothly. An auctioneer was available, so a mock auction was held, with one student volunteering to be sold.

In previous weeks, the group took field trips to Co-Op Agro Centre, Shortgrass Ranch and Deer View Meats. Various guest speakers also came into speak with the class, including veterinarians, vet technicians and producers.

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