Ag Students Get On-The-Farm Education


Anna Mammedova

Students who live and work at the Allen farm include, from left, Reid Shipman, Dakota Ferguson, and Danielle Gerdsen. They are with Terry Powelson, right, an agriculture instructor at the college.

Anna Mammedova, News Editor

Situated in the southeast corner of the farming state of Kansas, Allen Community College offers a strong and comprehensive program for students majoring in agriculture. Besides various classes that Allen’s students get as their general education, they are also provided with hands-on experience in farming, ranching and animal husbandry and nutrition.

Terry Powelson, agriculture instructor and program adviser, said, “We try to expose our students as much as possible to the career that they have chosen for their lives. We are more than happy to help them get involved in such programs as Allen farm, Collegiate Farm Bureau and livestock judging, which Allen offers for free.”

The Allen farm serves as a laboratory for students to get experience in the farming industry. Eight students who are selected annually are moved into the Zahn Scholarship House, where they share living quarters and responsibilities to take care of the farm and animals. These students have an incredible opportunity to apply their knowledge to the real-life responsibilities at the farm.

Reid Shipman from Manhattan, Kansas, is one of the scholarship recipients. “I have been always passionate about farming and everything that relates to this field,” he said. “Living in the Zahn House, I have had a chance to grow crops, artificially inseminate animals and manage beef growth.” Shipman believes this experience will help him and his career in the future as he transfers to Kansas State University to acquire his bachelor degree in production management.

For those who are wanting to experience another, related part of agriculture, Allen invites students to join Collegiate Farm Bureau. This organization serves to develop students not only as the next generation in agriculture, but also as future leaders, explorers and business entrepreneurs.

Danielle Gerdsen, Iola, is an active member of this organization. “Collegiate Farm Bureau is constantly involved in the organization of different projects to attract more students and high-schoolers. In the past we have successfully implemented ‘Young Farmers Conference,’ ‘Day at the Farm,’ ‘Aggie Day’ and many other trips and exhibitions related to agriculture.”

Livestock judging is one of the most arduous activities in the ag program, Powelson said. In addition to breeding, raising and showing livestock, students are required to assess performance reports and defend their points of view. The activity develops decision-making and information gathering skills as later they present their analyses in oral communications.

While the Zahn Scholarship House is limited to a specific number of students, Collegiate Farm Bureau and livestock judging are open for everyone to join, regardless of major. Powelson said he is always happy to guide new students to join these activities and invites everybody to ask question in his office, Tech Building Room 110 A.