(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor. Let’s join Kyle and Ken as they update us on the students, faculty and facilities at ASI.
(Kyle) I have the opportunity to visit with Ken Odde. Ken is the head of the Animal Sciences and Industry Department at Kansas State University. Ken, I have had the opportunity to be an insider on a lot of information over the last few years about the Animal Sciences Department and just how successful it has been. (Ken) Well, Kyle thank you for the opportunity to visit about this a little bit. Obviously I’m very proud of the department. I probably need to tell you that this department has a long history of excellence in serving students and the livestock industry. And I think what we really try to do is carry on that legacy of this department. To give you a few examples, we’re having tremendous enrollment growth here in the department, have for about the last seven years. We’re up about 500 students in seven years. We’re also up significantly in non-resident students. So, what’s happened is we continually attract more students from across the country to our program. I think a big reason for that is we’re very fortunate to have not just outstanding faculty, but to have good facilities that are close to campus. We can provide a lot of hands on experience. We’re in our new sheep and meat goat center right here. And that facility was dedicated three years ago and provides a lot of good teaching opportunity for us as well. (Kyle) Having facilities close to campus has become almost unique across the nation. (Ken) Absolutely. What happens is most of our land grant institutions are in cities that are experiencing growth. And as they experience growth those facilities that were close to campus tend to get either closed or pushed away. And in many cases if they get rebuilt they’re 20-30 miles away and they’re very difficult to make good use of, particularly for teaching. So, we’re really fortunate to be right here on the north edge of campus and we can fit our laboratory experiences in our livestock facilities right into regular class schedules and that makes a big difference. (Kyle) With having that many new students in the Animal Sciences Department, can you find jobs for all of them? (Ken) The reality is the job market is very good. There’s jobs for everyone that graduates in this department. I will tell you that there is a bit of a challenge though in that the jobs aren’t always where the students might necessarily like to go. As I tell them, not all of the jobs are in Manhattan, Kansas. And so they do have to be willing to go where the jobs are actually located. But the job market in animal agriculture has really been quite good. (Kyle) Truly the value of the education at Kansas State must be good because out-of-state students pay a significantly higher tuition. (Ken) They absolutely do and while a third of our students are non-resident students, the non-resident students total tuition is actually more than the resident students. So, if you look at what’s coming into the institution, it’s a huge part. (Kyle) So, can you maintain this kind of growth or do your facilities get maxed out at some point? (Ken) We are, I would describe, first of all we’re very pleased with the growth we’ve had, but we’re pretty close to what we can effectively handle at this point in time. You know, it’s possible that with additional resources, we could have additional growth, but there’s limitations. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Dr. Ken Odde. He is the head of the Animal Sciences and Industry Department at Kansas State University.
(Jamie) Thanks, Kyle. Folks, it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, but don’t go far away – next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Report.