Farm & Industry Short Course develops skills for a family business

Lindsey Rettenmund feeding a calf

Lindsey Rettenmund grew up on a dairy farm in Black Earth, Wis., where her main job was feeding the calves. It wasn’t until she registered for the Farm & Industry Short Course that she palpated a cow—that is, physically checked to see if it was pregnant.

The opportunity came in a course called Advanced Reproduction, and Rettenmund considers it her most significant experience in the University of Wisconsin-Madison program.

“I’d never been able to do that,” she says, “so having the chance was pretty amazing.”

Rettenmund was attracted to the Farm & Industry Short Course because it covers a wide range of topics in only 16 weeks. Students tailor the curriculum to their needs, choosing from dozens of classes in soils, crops, dairy, meat animals, agricultural engineering, farm business planning, agribusiness, human relations, and communications. From November through March (the Midwest’s non-growing season), they learn to operate their own farms, run an agricultural business, or work in the agribusiness sector.

Alumni are in high demand, landing jobs as farmhands, herdsmen, managers, milkers, feeders, farm technicians, and crop assistants, to name a few.

‘A wide variety of knowledge’

Rettenmund studied dairy farm management to develop skills for her family’s business. She plans to return to the Farm & Industry Short Course for a second year to learn more about farm power and soil and crop management.

“In the next five to 10 years I hope to purchase a farm and start my own dairy farming operation,” she says. “I would like to be able to produce my own crops and feed my animals. So it’s great that the Farm & Industry Short Course offers a wide variety of knowledge to help me succeed.”

For more information about the Farm & Industry Short Course, watch the video above or see here.

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