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Observational Skills Key to Good Stockmanship

5 February 2015, at 8:34am

CANADA - At a seminar in Winnipeg this week, a swine extension veterinarian with Michigan State University is suggesting good observational skills are among the key traits necessary for a successful pig industry stockperson, writes Bruce Cochrane.

"The Makings of a Good Stockperson" is among the topics discussed as part of the 2015 Manitoba Swine Seminar set for this week in Winnipeg.

Dr Madonna Benjamin a swine extension veterinarian with Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, notes, while different traits are needed for different stages of swine production, all stages require observation or an eye for detail.

Dr Madonna Benjamin - Michigan State University:

There was quite a bit of research that became available especially in the early 1980s.

That research strongly suggested that there were personality traits that were associated with a good stock person such as they were caring. Some would describe them as laconic, they were generally good natured, they were interested people and then, as time went on, especially among the Hemsworth and Coleman Group, they started looking at rather than personality characteristics they look at the attitude of the stockperson.

Attitude is really an optimistic way of looking at the stockperson's ability because the attitude would also suggest in other terms the respect. Respect that a person has for livestock and respect meaning that their attention to detail, their respect as far as how they believe that an animal should be treated, livestock should be treated, their respect for prosperity. The definition for prosperity is well being, so their own financial well being, their own health and safety well being and then animal's well-being as well.

Dr Benjamin says there is a chronic need for stockpeople.

She notes placements at Iowa State University for students involved in animal agriculture are running at 99 per cent.

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