With a goal of serving students in area schools, the Dordt College agriculture department and area businesses have teamed up together to offer a group of free educational tours. The goal of the tours, which were first offered in 2006, is to develop in students an awareness of the diversity of careers that may be available to them.

The tours will take place Monday, March 17, with a registration deadline of March 3. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with refreshments served from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Activities will begin at 8:30 a.m. Two businesses will be toured in the morning and two businesses will be toured in the afternoon. The day's activities will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Attendance is expected for the entire day. Please try to limit your participation to 25 students or fewer. No repeaters please.

Many of the tours are not available at other times of the year due to company issues of safety, liability, time, and company policy. The businesses listed have graciously agreed to be part of the March 17 one-time event out of a desire to serve area students in an interesting, efficient, and appropriate manner.

The tours include the following locations:

Dykstra Dairy

The Dykstra Dairy is a 3,000-cow, family owned and run dairy operation that takes excellent care of its cows and takes pride in its employees and in the quality of its products. The dairy has 3,000 milking cows, 450 dry cows, and 500 close-up heifers. The entrepreneurs promote and practice good stewardship of the land and the environment as they operate their dairy.

The presentation will be of interest to participants desiring information about dairy cow production and management, animal science, veterinary medicine, agri-business, land management, and the dairy support industry.

Natural Food Holdings

Natural Food Holdings is a hog harvesting plant that harvests 4,400 to 4,700 hogs a day with an average of about 4,450. The company serves niche markets in unique ways. Participants will have the opportunity to see a “state-of-the-art” design of humane animal receiving, a new carbon dioxide pre-harvesting room, and the processing of the carcass to achieve a final product. Some areas of the plant and coolers will also be shown.

The presentation will be of interest to participants considering a career in food safety and quality control, marketing, animal science, veterinary medicine, animal harvesting, business, agri-business, technology, and other related disciplines.

Sioux Pharm, Inc.

Sioux Pharm, Inc. produces purified proteins for the research community specializing in the large-scale isolation and purification of recombinant proteins from transgenic grains. The manufacturing capabilities are extensive, and tour participants will be able to see part of the manufacturing process.

The presentation will be of interest to participants considering a career in chemistry, genetics, animal science, business, agri-business, technology, and other related disciplines.

Trans Ova Genetics

Trans Ova Genetics, the world-wide leader in bovine embryo transfer services, will offer a presentation reviewing all of the technologies in their "reproductive toolbox."


Advance registration is required to organize the tours and to plan for the noon meal. Registration for each tour will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you and your students plan to attend, register early. Last year all tour spaces were filled prior to the registration deadline date. Unfortunately, there were some schools that were not able to participate. When the maximum number of participants is reached, registration will be closed. The deadline for registration is Monday, March 3.

Dordt College will provide a free noon luncheon with Brad Kooima, commodity broker and partner in Kooima-Kaemingk Commodities located in Sioux Center, Iowa, as the keynote speaker.

Since teachers have limited time, students (if excused) could also attend the event accompanied by a parent/chaperone. Many parents may be interested in the tours.

We welcome your participation in what promises to be a fun and educational event.

Duane Bajema, Ph.D.