The Agriculture Department's academic farms serve Wilmington College students as working laboratories. Agronomic crop management principles of both a practical and research nature are demonstrated. A full line of farm machinery is maintained for student use in operating the various farm enterprises. Students have the opportunity to operate machinery as they participate in field and laboratory learning exercises. Students feed and care for the livestock through all phases of animal production and management as a part of structured class assignments. Hands-on learning is a major goal of the academic farms.
Students help farrow and care for several sows and their pigs as structured parts of learning laboratory assignments. Processing litters of pigs, swine feeding management, artificial insemination, and herd health are taught.
Lambing season barn-watches are a part of classroom instruction. Processing newborn lambs, shearing, sheep nutrition, breeding season management, and flock health are integrated into the classroom and on-farm laboratories.
Several different types and styles of pasture watrerers have been installed on the Fife Avenue Farm as part of a newly implemented rotational grazing program. The goal was to demonstrate a variety of watering systems, and to study the practical applications of each as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Several new grass waterways were built on the academic farms. Students were involved in construction of the waterways through their participation in class laboratory sessions. Fundamentals of waterway design, structure, and management were part of the learning experience.
This beef cattle working facility, located on the Fife Avenue Farm, was built in conjunction with a heavy-use pad. The facility is state-of-the-art in design and function for the handling and working of beef cattle. The working facility includes sort alleys, a crowd gate, head-to-tail chute, a palpation cage, weigh scales, and automatic headgate. Student safety in handling beef cattle was a major factor in designing this facility. The facility serves as an ideal classroom setting for teaching beef cattle handling techniques, veterinary practices, and beef cattle husbandry.
Students learned what a "deadman" and a "storypole" are! Well over one mile of high tensile fence have been built on the academic farms as part of student learning laboratories. The mechanics of fence construction, fence design, and costs were studied and implemented.
Each year the Aggies club organizes the Livestock Judging contest for all Vo-Ag and 4-H programs. During one day in the month of February over 1000 students from southwest Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky arrive to test their knowledge and skills for evaluation of dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, horses, swine, and goats. The event takes place from 10:00 am till 2:00 pm with results posted on the web site by the same evening. The entire event is managed by agriculture students in the college.
The college maintains a Living Crop Museum of commercial crops raised in the United States. Over 50 species of crops are grown each year ranging from Wheat and Barley to Sesame and Cotton. The plots are used for classes like weed control, forage production, cereal grain production and general introduction to cultivated crops. More detail can be seen on the web site www.livingcropmuseum.info .
Students in all concentrations are encouraged to attend and present research results in national meetings related to their chosen field. This is an excellent way to learn more about that profession and to make contacts for graduate school studies. Students receive credit for research projects done as part of the regular program of study.
Each fall the best members of the Soil Judging class compete in the Northeast Regional Soil Judging contest held in different states of the Northeast US. The top three teams from that competition are entered in the National Soil Judging contest held each spring somewhere in the continental US. In 2006 Wilmington College placed third in the regional contest held in Maine. In the spring of 2007 the team placed 9th in the national contest held in Utah.
During the month of March each year 4_h Club students organize a showmanship contest for junior 4-H club members. This serves as valuable practice for young 4-H members to practice their skills before local county fairs begin. Special efforts are made by the college agriculture students to assure that the animals used are halter broken and not dangerous for the contestants to handle.