Partnering to educate students who are passionate about Agriculture and Animal Science

Our collaboration with the Careerline Tech Center

November 19, 2019

Big Dutchman North America is proud to highlight our ongoing collaboration with the Careerline Tech Center’s Agriculture and Animal Science program – to further enhance student experience when learning about the agricultural industry.

The Careerline Tech Center (CTC), a service of Ottawa Area ISD, is a college and career readiness facility located in Holland, Michigan that “prepares students for tomorrow’s workforce by providing career and technical education for employment and post-secondary opportunities.” The Tech Center opened in 1977, and today enrolls more than 1,400 students from surrounding school districts in 30 career and technical education programs.

The Agriculture and Animal Science program, led by instructor Tony McCaul, is packed full of hands-on projects that teach students about horticulture, animal anatomy, physiology, nutrition, reproduction and health. The projects include a swine project, broiler contest, egg laying hen project and other animal rotations. Big Dutchman equipment, including broiler feed pans, pig pens and feeding equipment, farrowing crates and a colony nest have been incorporated into their facility, so students have the opportunity to learn more about animal production – just on a smaller scale.

Broiler contest

Students are placed onto teams and are given 25 chicks to raise. Chicks are inspected daily to make sure they are healthy. The students record their weights regularly and ensure their areas are clean and they have appropriate amounts of feed. They compete against other groups to see who can raise the heaviest broilers by the end of 5 weeks.

Swine project

Students are required to record daily feeder pig weights, keep up with pen maintenance and proper feeding. They also learn artificial insemination, perform pregnancy checks on sows and assist in giving birth to piglets. The piglets that are born are raised to be shown at the local county fair the following summer.

Egg laying hen project

A fairly new addition to the barn, the colony nest for the egg laying hens will be used to teach students about various elements of egg production – including feeding, watering, maintenance of the environment and hen welfare. The eggs these hens lay will be used by the culinary program students, who are very excited to have this resource.

Once students experience these projects along with several others throughout the one year program, they take away fundamental knowledge and can further explore opportunities within the industry. Careers that are pursued following this program include jobs in agriculture education/communication, production, nutrition, veterinary service, soil conservation, food safety, sustainable practices and more.

“Since we are partnered with Big Dutchman, it has allowed me to bring our curriculum and program to the next level with teaching a little bit about commercial production,” said Tony McCaul. McCaul continued, “The equipment that we have received from Big Dutchman allows students the chance to use equipment that’s utilized in the industry and also learn the new systems that help for animal welfare. Besides teaching our students about the new swine and poultry equipment, it also allows us to teach the general public. The public doesn’t typically get to see animal industry in production, so this allows us to be the educator. Plus, when people see our systems, they are very impressed by the professional appearance and how flexibly we can use them to teach.”

Sally Reinink, Vice President of Poultry Customer Solutions for Big Dutchman North America, added, “Big Dutchman appreciates the opportunity to partner with Mr. McCaul and the CTC. We are excited to share with the students all the opportunities associated with the Ag industry and hope they use the skills they learn in and out of the classroom to help educate others.”

For more information about the Careerline Tech Center and its programs, visit https://www.oaisd.org/ctc/.

More About Careerline Tech Center

The Careerline Tech Center (CTC), a service of Ottawa Area ISD, is a college and career readiness facility located in Holland, Michigan that “prepares students for tomorrow’s workforce by providing career and technical education for employment and post-secondary opportunities.” The Tech Center opened in 1977, and today enrolls more than 1,400 students from surrounding school districts in 30 career and technical education programs.