Ag is changing fast, women told

By Anne Kazmierczak
Register Reporter

Register/Anne Kazmierczak
Candace Myers (left) and Destiny Arie, both of Labette County High School, view blood culture slides and an X-ray of canine fetuses during a talk on veterinary careers at the Women in Agriculture conference at Allen County Community College Monday morning. About 120 young women from through out southeast Kansas attended the event.

About 120 young women from throughout southeast Kansas were at Allen County Community College Tuesday for the 2009 Women in Agriculture Conference. The daylong event showcased potential career choices for females in agriculture, an ever-changing business, said Mary Kane, executive secretary of Kansas Future Farmers of America.
Kane opened the conference by telling the students, “This is all about networking, this is all about discovering some of the changes occurring” in agribusiness.
She used an example the students could relate to: music delivery systems.
“How do you get your music?” she asked the crowd. “CDs” they called out. “iPods,” “the Internet.”
“Or, if you’re an Ag teacher?” she said. To which one such man responded: “Eight tracks.”
“All those changes happened during your lifetime,” she told the students. It was an example, she said, how quickly things change.
“The most demanded jobs for 2010 weren’t even on the radar in 2004,” she told them.

IN ONE of the first sessions, a crowd of women met to learn about careers in veterinary medicine.
Dr. Carol Hines of Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Chanute told the girls there was an array of opportunities within the field.
“Large animal vet, small animal vet, research, military, food safety” she said; all fall under the umbrella of veterinary medicine. Even a woman interested in wildlife biology could benefit from veterinary study, she responded to one query.
Hines attended junior college one year before entering veterinary school, she told the students. It was a good way to get her feet wet in the sciences, she said.
For Hines, small animal practice suits her best.
“I don’t see things economically,” she told them. “I wouldn’t make a farmer happy telling him to spend $500 to treat a calf. I see things in a touchy-feely way.”
Every vet student does the same course work, she said, and chooses their area of specialty after college.
“When you graduate, you know as much about horses as you do about dogs,” she said. That offers flexibility when looking for a job. Also, she noted, location determines your salary.
“You can make two to three times as much money in Kansas City” or other urban areas, she told the students, “but you have to weigh the cost of living in those places” against rural communities.
One pitfall of being a veterinarian, Hines noted ruefully: you end up adopting unwanted animals.
With her were two dogs, a Spaniel puppy and a full-grown Doberman Pinscher. Both had just been abandoned by owners who had fallen on hard times and could no longer afford to keep the pets.
Hines had already laid claim to Tucker, the Doberman, and though she said she does not plan to keep the puppy, “You know how it is — the longer you have them, the harder it is to let them go.”