In the heart of agricultural academia, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), stands as a crucible for cultivating, not just students, but future leaders in the realm of animal husbandry. FarmingFarmersFarms investigation into the livestock improvement practices among 400-level students during their Farm Practical Year (FPY) revealed a dynamic fusion of theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills, setting the stage for a new generation of agricultural visionaries.
In the expansive fields where theoretical concepts meet practical application, students actively engaged in the intricate art of “artificial insemination”. This process extends beyond the confines of textbooks, enabling students to contribute actively to enhancing livestock genetics. As one student succinctly expressed, “The hands-on experience with artificial insemination, where we have to collect semen and inseminate the female animals has been eye-opening, something that I have understood abstractly. We’re not just learning about it in theory; we are actively contributing to the improvement of livestock genetics”. The pivotal role of farm managers cannot be overstated as the students unanimously praised the efforts of their mentors, emphasising that it’s not just about following procedures, but understanding the underlying science.
We found that farm managers, in this context, are not merely disseminating information; they are nurturing a profound comprehension of the intricate ‘dance’ between genetics and productivity. So, venturing beyond the realm of artificial insemination, students explored various techniques that are crucial for livestock improvement. The comprehensive training in “castration” and “caponisation” emerged as transformative, with students noting the direct impact on yield at the end of rearing seasons. “The techniques we’ve learned, like castration and caponisation, have a direct impact on the yield as most of the castrated goats turned out to have more carcass as well as the caponized chickens though it was ethically done. It’s not just about raising animals; it’s about raising them in a way that optimises the outcome,” shared a student with enthusiasm.
As our investigations unfolded, it became evident that the livestock improvement initiatives at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, are not solely focused on the present; they are about nurturing a cohort of agricultural visionaries and these students are advised to always put them into practice for the movement of Nigerian agriculture. These students, armed with a practical understanding of genetic principles and hands-on skills, are poised to be the architects of a more productive and sustainable future for livestock farming. Hence, from my experience as a graduate of university of agriculture, I can confidently say that the integration of theoretical knowledge with practical skills at FUNAAB, portrays a forward-thinking institution. The fields of this university are not mere plots for cultivation; they serve as laboratories for the development of expertise and the cultivation of a new generation capable of steering the course of agriculture toward greater heights.