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May 8, 2013
Chloe Mitchell grew up on a farm and has enjoyed being around horses for as long as she can remember. Now, having completed her Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business and animal science at Northwest Missouri State University, she feels more prepared than ever to be successful in the agriculture field.
Mitchell says the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Northwest helped her broaden her skills and gain additional experience she can apply to her professional career. Resources like Northwest’s 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm, which is home to cattle and swine as well as a variety of crops, helped Mitchell build on the experience she has gained on her family’s farm in Skidmore.
“Having that hands-on experience on the farm has definitely been beneficial,” Mitchell said. “I knew some things about the dairy industry, but it’s broadened my knowledge. I benefitted from having a beef production class, having that hands-on experience, and just getting out there and seeing how things can be done differently. I have experience at my farm, but then you get out there and you say ‘Oh! That’s a better way of doing that!’”
Mitchell developed a passion for horses while growing up and watching her father compete at rodeos. As a youth she was heavily involved in 4-H and now competes nearly every weekend in races and rodeos as a member of the National Barrel Racing Association, the Interstates Rodeo Association and Better Barrel Races. In 2010, Mitchell earned the FFA American Degree, which represents the highest level of commitment to the organization.
Northwest and its knowledgeable agriculture faculty helped Mitchell find another niche in animal nutrition.
“Being in the ag department has really helped my rodeo career,” Mitchell said. “Nutritionally, I’ve learned a lot about what to feed my horses on the road and what to feed them at home, what to feed them when I’m riding them and when I’m not riding them. (Assistant Professor of Agricultural Sciences) Dr. Callie Walker has really helped me to know what to do in certain areas, or even at home on the farm with our cattle. She’s really influenced my knowledge in nutrition because that’s what is going to help me be successful.”
Mitchell often approached Walker with questions about feeding her horses, and Walker was helpful in providing answers, sometimes doing extra research to find answers to Mitchell’s questions.
“Chloe is a very bright animal science student,” Walker said. “As a freshman, she stood out as being one of the more dedicated students. I have enjoyed teaching Chloe in several courses and because of her passion for equine have even learned a few things from her in the process of being her instructor.”
Walker was an especially important asset two years ago after Mitchell discovered one of her prized horses, Snazzy, was suffering from colic. Snazzy underwent emergency surgery at a Columbia animal hospital, and Mitchell sought Walker’s advice as she worked to rehabilitate the horse. Snazzy overcame odds of survival that a doctor put at 50-50, and Mitchell returned to riding her within six months.
“That was a really big deal for me,” Mitchell said. “We had to make some major nutritional changes with (Snazzy) and make sure I was putting her on the right feed. I talked with Callie on a daily basis. It was a miracle that my horse survived.”
Now Mitchell is interviewing for agriculture jobs and is confident she will find the right fit because of the experience and knowledge she gained at Northwest.
“Northwest is the best place to be for anybody who wants to pursue agriculture,” Mitchell said. “I don’t know another school that offers faculty who are so easy to approach, and they’re always there to give you advice, whether it’s for school, work or general questions you might have. They’re just good people.”
Mitchell says Northwest helped her gain a confidence that will help her be more successful in her pursuits.
“I’ve had so many good experiences in the agriculture department,” Mitchell said. “I’ve grown as a person and it’s made me more confident in knowing what I want in life.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468