Eastern’s Ag Workforce Training Held At South Branch 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 Service, coordinated training for the Livestock Management Systems at the South Branch Valley Livestock Exchange on March 16 and 17, 2023. WVDA provided cows to be used for this training. This was a two-day training, led by Dr. Darin Matlick, WVU Extension veterinarian, and Brad Smith, WVU Extension Service with ten students in attendance, and four of the ten were part of Ag Innovation’s Farm Fellowship program.

“I think it is a very good learning experience; a lot of hands-on activity, and it really puts what’s learned in the lecture into perspective for your real-world application,” said Helen McCarty.

Students completing this two-day training receive the Bovine Artificial Insemination Certificate. There is currently a waitlist to take this course offered by Eastern, as it is highly sought-after. 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 2024. “Feedback from students was very positive,” said Trish Halterman, ag workforce fellowship & student training coordinator, “The hands-on practice was invaluable. We were fortunate to have Dr. Matlick and Brad Smith, both from WVU Extension, as our instructors.”  

The Farm Fellowship, offered by the Ag Innovation Trainings in coordination with West Virginia University Extension Service, 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.

“This is very interesting to me; I’ve wanted to take an AI class for a long time and this has been the opportunity for that. It’s been a little bit harder than I thought it would be, but I am enjoying trying for sure. I like the challenge and I hope I can get better at doing this.” Lacen Matheny

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.

Group of people
(l-r) Jacob Evans, Aiden Riggleman, Instructors Dr. Matlick, WVU Extension veterinarian & Brad Smith, WVU Extension Service, Helen McCarty, and Kim Dollinger.