Eastern Ag Innovation Holds Artificial Insemination Training at Stockyards

MOOREFIELD, W.Va. – Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College’s Ag Innovation department in partnership with Select Sires, West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), and WVU Extension, coordinated two training sessions for Artificial Insemination (AI) for the Livestock Management Systems. These trainings were led by Dr. Darin Matlick, WVU Extension veterinarian, and Brad Smith, WVU Extension at the South Branch Valley Livestock Exchange on February 29 & March 1, 2024, and again on March 21 & 22, 2024. Thank you to the WVDA for providing cows to be used for this training and many thanks to the Farm Credit of Virginias for sponsoring training meals. “It’s a good program because people can buy genetics through a straw semen way cheaper than they can buy the bull,” said Matlick, “We can greatly increase the genetics of a herd through artificial insemination, which is way cheaper than buying a live animal.”

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2/29-3/1 Training Session Group Photo
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3/21-3/22 Training Session Group Photo

The first session saw ten students in attendance, four of them from Ag Innovation’s Farm Fellowship program. Then in the second session were nine students, four from Ag Innovation’s Farm Fellowship program and three from the Ag Entrepreneur internship. “The AI training that these students are practicing will enable them to utilize so many different genetics that they couldn’t afford naturally with a bull to improve their herds,” said Smith, “With AI and the synchronization protocols, they can manage their calving period and get more of their calves in a much shorter period to be able to manage and market them at the same time.”

Students completing this two-day training receive the Bovine Artificial Insemination Certificate. “I just want to thank Eastern and staff for putting this program on. It’s very beneficial, especially for small farmers who don’t have enough cattle to do a bull,” said Jim Dollinger, Farm Fellowship student, “I just really appreciate the time, effort, and money they put into it for the small farmers and even the big farmers.”

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Eastern offered two sessions this year due to last year’s demand, which resulted in needing a waitlist. The Agriculture Workforce Development training programs Livestock Management Systems micro-credential permits up to ten available seats per training session with the next insemination training looking to be held in Spring 2025. “I think it is really impactful that the more people who are trained in these skills in our community, the stronger we are as a community, especially in Ag,” said Shenae Frazier, Eastern Ag Workforce training graduate, “Even though so many things are mechanized right now, being able to do it manually has a lot of benefits.”

The Farm Fellowship, offered by the Ag Innovation Trainings in coordination with West Virginia University Extension, provides in-depth intensive training experiences. The fellowship combines classroom training with hands-on practical experience, allowing on-farm mentoring and apprenticeships with local farmers, so fellows have real-life training in addition to the more traditional course learning. Students participating in mentorships are helping to strengthen the Potomac Highlands agricultural workforce by bringing the next generation in to learn the skills and cultivate the stamina needed to work in this field.

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Each Ag Workforce training is available for enrollment, even if not completing a certification micro-credential. There are different micro-credential options, including training and individual certifications, which can be found under the course schedule on Eastern’s website at https://easternwv.edu/ag-innovation/farm-fellowship/ Micro-credential completion is not required but is available through Eastern’s Workforce Education Department. For more information about training or the farm fellowship, contact Aginnovation@easternwv.edu.