A Trip to Purina for Swine Nutrition Ph.D. Students
This past August, the swine nutrition Ph.D. students had the opportunity to visit Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Missouri. The state of the art research farm hosted an event where animal science students and professors were invited to tour the farm and learn about their research and career opportunities. Purina farms has research facilities for an abundance of equine, beef, dairy, swine, backyard poultry, aquatics, rabbit, small ruminant, deer, and companion animal nutrition experiments. In addition, the Purina has in-vitro models to test immune function. As part of this experience, the graduate students were able to see all the facilities first hand and interact with some of the researchers who perform these experiments.
One of the main takeaways the students gained from the experience was a new understanding of how a product is developed. At Purina Farms, Land O’ Lakes has three main groups that work together in product development. One group is in contact with the consumer and constantly surveying what the consumer is demanding. The next group communicates that information to the researchers and helps the research team develop an experiment. The last group (the research team) then performs the experiment and develops a product to test. This product will then go back to the group that works closely with the consumer and they will collect feedback on how the product is working on the consumer’s farms. Finally, the researchers will take that feedback and perfect the product so it is ready to be put on the market. Overall, there is a great deal of collaboration that goes into developing a new product and the farm did an excellent job explaining that process to the students.
In addition to the learning experience, the students also had the opportunity to visit with students and professors from other universities. They had opportunities to connect and socialize over an ice cream bar, great meals, and a visit from one of the Budweiser Clydesdales! The students had a great time at the event and look forward to future communication with Purina Farms.