Animal Production Science & Technology Program Profile

October 22, 2021

Nina, the pygmy goat was restrained humanely, held protectively, and occasionally bleat out her displeasure at getting her hooves clipped. Half a dozen students in the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center’s (LCCTC) Animal Production Science & Technology (APST) class clustered around the pair of little goats and practiced haltering, leading, and maintaining the goats’ hooves.
Bobbie Ditzler, a senior at Penn Manor School District, knelt over one of the goats, taking care to properly trim a back hoof. She murmured calmingly to the goat as she worked in the afternoon sunshine.

“Ohhh! Are you annoyed?” Bobbie asked the goat after a particularly strident bleat of impatience. Bobbie said later that she grew up on a horse farm and she loves animals, even when they are being ornery.

Bobbie chose to come to school at the LCCTC and picked the Animal Production program because she intends to develop and run an equine science program and stable when she graduates, training people on the proper care and management of horses, their nutritional needs, how much exercise they need, and more. She recognized that the CTC’s Animal Production program will give her a foundation of knowledge about a variety of large animals that will serve her well in her aspirations.

“We get to work hands-on with all the animals,” Bobbie said. “From sheep to goats to cows to horses to pigs, we learn about their needs like nutrition and how to take their vital signs.”

The APST program teaches how to care for agricultural production animals such as beef, dairy, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, and horses. Students learn fundamentals on nutrition, health care, exercise for herds and for individual animals. They clearly develop a healthy respect for and good relationship with animals. Students also study and practice managing, evaluating, treating, and marketing these important animals. The Animal Production Science & Technology program at the Lancaster County CTC can prepare future farmers, herd managers, animal scientists, technicians, and others for a future caring for these animals.

“Animals of any size need someone who is going to be dependable and dedicated to their needs,” explains Lori Hess, the Instructor for the Animal Production program. “We work hard to instill that dedication into all of our students.” Ms. Hess continued saying that students in her program have gone on to be herd and flock managers, farmers, equine dentists, and more.

Students in the Animal Production Science & Technology program are also frequently involved in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), an extracurricular organization for students interested in agriculture and leadership. The LCCTC’s FFA Chapter organizes a variety of service and charitable project during the year and raises funds for students to attend FFA conferences and seminars.

Bobbie has a laser focus on her equine science program and what she wants coming out of the Animal Production program and her classmates have equally rigorous plans.

Lena Cooney, a senior at Solanco School District, said that she believes that everyone is an animal lover at some level, but she really loves large animals. She took all of the animal-related classes she could in high school to the point that there were no more to take.

“I love the APST program,” Lena exclaimed. “I was heading into my senior year in high school and I had run out of [agriculture] and animal courses. I didn’t know what I would do! My high school counselor suggested the CTC as an option. I considered the Veterinary Assistant program but working with the large animals, specifically horses, in the Animal Production Science & Technology program appealed to me more. I just love it,” she said.

“I never really knew what I wanted to do after high school until I got here. Now I want to learn to teach people how to ride horses,” Lena said saying that each student works on a college search project and that has really helped her narrow in on a school and a course and a major. Lena hopes to go to Delaware Valley University and participate in their Equine Center. The CTC has an articulation agreement with Delaware Valley University and our Animal Production students can earn three higher education credits for Delaware Valley’s Survey of Agriculture course by earning B or higher this year in APST.

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