The England and Ireland Agriculture and Animal Production study abroad program offered a group of 28 animal science students a complete educational experience including tours of notable cities and landmarks, the scenic countryside and coastlines, a taste of local cuisine, visits with leaders from agricultural associations and in-depth tours to numerous farms and agricultural centers.
The main focus of the study abroad program explored many aspects of the regions’ livestock industry including sheep, beef, dairy, horse and grain production systems.
The student group included Elizabeth Barrier, Kylie Bennett, Kirstin Burnett, Ashley Buro, Alexandra Cantrell, Angelica Cardenas, Elissa Farrington, Megan Grant, Hannah Gribble, Anna Hubbell, Kathryn Jimerson, Trey Johnson, Kelli Kolodziej, Chase Long, Rachel MacDonald, Karen Milich, Taylor Owens, Jessica Porras, Melodie Raese, Allison Raley, Alexis Roach, Guadalupe Sanchez, Bethany Smith, Trysten Taylor, Travis Trent, Eva Trevino and Tullina Wilson. They were accompanied Dr. Shawn Ramsey and Dr. Josie Coverdale.
Daily trips included:
Aug. 5: Sightseeing tour of London including views of Buckingham Palace, Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.
Aug. 6: Visit to the Centre for Dairy Research in Reading (CEDAR) in Reading including a presentation and tour of the largest facility in the U.K. for nutritional, reproducing and metabolic studies in dairy cows. Visit to the Animal Science and Research Group (ASRG) and a visit to a private horse stud offering breeding services.
Aug. 7: Visit to the Laverstoke Park Farm, a large organic farm home to 400 pedigree Hereford and Angus cattle, 880 Lleyn and Hebridean breeding ewes, wild boar, poultry, pigs and water buffalo producting meat, mozzarella, yogurt and ice cream. Students learned first-hand about sustainable land management, biodiversity, farm animal welfare and healthy food production from field to fork.
Aug. 8: Travel to Devon for a visit to a cyder producer using apples from their 100-year-old orchards. Visit independent bull stud set up to collect, store and distribute semen around the world, working with top cattle breeders, artificial insemenation companies, buyer groups and cooperatives collecting semen from the very best of British dairy and beef genetics.
Aug. 9: Visit to a goat farm breeding Golden Guernsey Goats, British Guernsey Goats and Pygmy Goats in Devon. Visited the Cornish coast for a traditional Cornish pasty lunch (savory meat and vegetable pie) followed by a tour of the area scenery.
Aug. 10: Visit to the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company to see the various stages of transforming rich, local milk into award winning authentic cheddar cheese. Visit to a pedigree dairy farm where more than 300 milkers run commercially on a no frills operation. Dinner in Wales.
Aug. 11: Morning visit to a beef, sheep and arable farm in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The farm owner is a National Farms Union County Chairman and recently won a competition for farm conservation. Next, the group visited a neighboring family farm producing apple juice and then traveled into Abergavenny for sightseeing including a trip to the Abergavenny Castle.
Aug. 12: Visit to a family farm with Huacaya alpacas and Black Welsh Mountain, Jacob and Shetland sheep whose focus is to take high quality females and breed to improve temperament. The group then took a foot passenger ferry from the west coast of Wales to Rosslare, Ireland and then toured Waterford.
Aug. 13: Tour of Cork along the South Coast of Ireland and stopped at a sheep farm followed by a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery for a tour and tasting. Visit to Billy Nicholson’s Suckler Beef, Arable and Woodland Farm.
Aug. 14: Visit to the O’Leary Farm Area, whose owners was recently elected as the national Vice President of Irish Farmers Association. Visit to Nangle & Niesen Wholesale Nursery Stock Producer, one of the biggest producers of semi mature trees in Ireland. Visit to Blarney Castle. Presentation by an Irish Farmers Association representative on Irish agriculture.
Aug. 15: Visit to Cobh Heritage Centre. Ferry ride to Spike Island for a guided tour of the island located in Cork Harbor. Visit to an Artisan/Farm House Cheese Producer and a potato producer
Aug. 16: Drive the Ring of Kerry through spectacular landscape awash with history and exquisite views. Meet with a beef farmer who farms the mountainous, west coast.
Aug. 17: Drive to Kilkenny via Adare and through Limerick with a stop at Kilkenny Castle. Visit to Kilkenny Farm Houses.
Aug. 18: Visit to Hyland Farm, a very commercial farm and frequent hot to the Irish Grassland Association. Visits to Talbot Beef Farm and Larry O’Reilly’s Arable Farm.
Aug. 19: Morning tour of Dublin City with a visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Christchurch Cathedral and the Guinness Store House.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.