Real World Agriculture
Carl Majewski, a 1992 grad of the Thompson School, discusses his hands-on course work in the Dairy Management specialization and how that grounding helped him throughout his B.S. and M.S. degrees. He now works at the UNH Cooperative Extension educating area farmers.
I had always liked farming, and by the time I started high school I thought that I’d like to look at a career in agriculture. I started working on a dairy farm in town, and when I started looking at colleges I focused on places that offered a curriculum in Dairy Management.
I had been accepted at a number of colleges, but the Thompson School appealed to me the most because of its emphasis on hands-on learning. I had limited farm experience, and I felt that anything I could do to gain practical skills and “real-world” perspectives would better prepare me for a career someday. I wasn’t disappointed; I still remember my first day of class, heading out to the barns to observe cattle behavior and later with regular field trips to area farms, I learned about the issues in dairying from the farmers themselves.
By the time I completed the Dairy Management curriculum, I had decided that I wanted to further my studies. I went on to get a B.S. in General Studies in Agriculture and a M.S in Plant and Soil Science, but the hands-on approach from Thompson School was a definite advantage. Now in the classroom, I was learning about essential amino acids for Animal Nutrition, or nutrient cycles in Intro to Soils, but I could relate these back to mixing feed rations in the dairy barn or digging in the soil of corn and alfalfa fields at the Burley-DeMerrit farm.
I now work as an Extension Educator in Agricultural Resources for UNH Cooperative Extension in Cheshire County, helping area farmers learn how to adopt new production practices and technology, or how to do a better job managing pests in their crops. Farmers tend to be practical folks, and having the appreciation for hands-on learning that I gained at the Thompson School helps me do a better job.