Texas A&M CVM Food Animal Tour is a 'Production'
Posted January 02, 2018
In 2008, Dr. Virginia
Fajt, clinical associate professor in the Department of Veterinary
Physiology & Pharmacology (VTPP) in the Texas A&M
University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
(CVM), came up with a brilliant idea.
Collaborating with veterinary faculty Drs. Dan Posey, Jeff
Musser, and Floren “Buddy” Faries, Fajt devised a concept that
would engage second- and third-year veterinary students in food
supply veterinary medicine and, hopefully, impact students’ career
The result of that collaboration, the Food Animal Production
Tour, now provides an innovative, experiential enhancement of
students’ learning, building upon their knowledge base of the
numerous opportunities in food supply veterinary medicine. Since
its inception, 58 students have gone through the Food Animal
Production Tour in the Texas Panhandle.
The tour focuses on providing students with a working knowledge
and background in animal agriculture by allowing students to
discuss and learn about the roles of food supply veterinarians.
The six-day tour, which runs Sunday through Friday, is designed
to expose students to multiple types of production units within a
relatively short time; to access prototypical, well-run operations,
which will showcase the veterinary career opportunities in the
field; and to introduce production concepts and terminology of the
food animal industries. It also acquaints students with
opportunities for future externships and elective courses, while
also improving their ability to work within food supply veterinary
“I had the distinct pleasure of attending the tour and must say
that it was an extremely enlightening and educational experience,”
said Kameron Soules, third-year veterinary student at Texas A&M
University. “Until then, I had never seen a feedlot, dairy,
processing facility, or a swine production facility firsthand, and
I was exceedingly impressed.
“Dr. Posey and Dr. Griffin did a fantastic job of introducing us
to people in the industry, as well as to veterinarians working in
the Texas Panhandle. We were an inquisitive group and our questions
were always taken seriously and answered thoroughly,” Soules said.
“Due to this tour, I will be seeking an externship at one of the
veterinary practices we visited, during my fourth year, and will be
tracking either mixed or food animal.”
The tour’s format exposes students to modern food
supply veterinarians’ roles in feedlots, dairies, swine operations,
and rural private practice. This year’s tour included partnering
with the Dalhart-based Full Circle Dairy, JBS Swine Operations, and
Circle H Animal Health; the Amarillo-based Randall County
Feedyards, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Veterinary
Medical Diagnostic Lab, and Tyson Packing House; the Dimmitt-based
Dimmitt Veterinary Clinic; the Hereford-based Hereford Veterinary
Clinic; and the Panhandle-based Carson County Veterinary Clinic.
“The Food Animal Production Tour is an elective in
the students’ veterinary-school curriculum,” Posey said. “An
important aspect of the tour is the veterinary students’
opportunities to talk with agricultural leaders, dairy and feedyard
managers, agriculture employees, food animal veterinarians in the
industry, food animal veterinarians in private practice, and
“The tour is an important method to introduce veterinary
students to large-scale production agriculture,” he said. “We are
very thankful for our educational partners and appreciate their
impact on the educational process of this tour.”
One of the tour’s main objectives is to take the student out of
the classroom to develop the learner’s understanding of the
“Learning, Experiencing, Reflection” cycle through experiential
learning; students learn the concepts in food supply veterinary
medicine in the classroom, experience it in the daily tour events,
and reflect on the concepts through open discussion and journaling,
according to Posey.
“The tour has changed over time and is now focused on 3VM
students who are exploring the career options in food supply
veterinary medicine,” he said. “This also exposes the 3VM student
to rural practice experience and the many opportunities for
veterinarians in food animal careers outside of private
This year’s participants were: Kameron Soules, Michelle Morelli,
Libby Woodruff, Susannah Jones, Pamela May, Hannah Klein, Anne
Jablinski, Ben Shepard, and Mary Cartagena.
“This was a career-altering experience for me and I will
encourage others to attend next year. Thank you for funding this
program and I hope that you continue to do so for future classes,”
Soules said. “I think that this was a fantastic way to get student
exposure to food animal production and West Texas opportunities!
Thank you, again.”
One of the key components in this year’s Food Animal Production
Tour is the CVM’s partnership with West Texas A&M University’s
(WTAMU) Department of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.
WTAMU was instrumental in the success of this year’s tour by
providing a welcoming environment, faculty resources to assist in
instruction, sharing their connections to agriculture industry, and
providing numerous departmental resources. Thanks to WTAMU for
their extraordinary help in educating future food animal
For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu
or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of
Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; email@example.com;
979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
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