On November 28, the Rutgers University Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory on College Farm Road opened its doors to a delegation of Chinese agricultural faculty visiting from Beijing. The delegation consisted of 20 top professors of agriculture in China who vied for the limited spots available for a two-week tour of several New Jersey facilities to learn about the state’s agronomic practices.
Part of the visitors’ itinerary included several stops at Rutgers, including the university’s equine facilities and demonstration horse farm on the George H. Cook Campus. At the Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory, the delegates learned about the horse, a top agricultural livestock and research subject here in New Jersey as well as the official state animal.
“They were here in New Jersey to learn hands-on agricultural techniques,” said Bill Hlubik, professor and agricultural and resource management agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, and co-coordinator of the delegation’s visit, who accompanied the visitors on several Rutgers stops. “Here at Rutgers, we have one of the leading equine research departments and facilities in the country; it’s a great model for them to learn from.”
The Chinese delegates spent the morning of their visit to the George H. Cook Campus experiencing the various phases of equine research and learning about the Rutgers Equine Science Center’s work in pasture and waste management, and horse care. Animal Sciences faculty members Carey Williams and Kenneth McKeever, who have undertaken a number of equine physiological studies in their careers, explained the scientific processes of the equine physiology laboratory. They also performed a demonstration on the treadmill and the Equi-cizer with one of the horses from Williams’ research lab.
The visitors were also treated to presentations by Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty and the statewide Rutgers 4-H Youth Development program. The delegates traveled to Duke Farms in Somerset County, which has ongoing collaborations with the university in environmental stewardship, conservation research and land management. Warren County Agricultural and Resource Management Agent and department chair Bruce Barbour led the tour of Duke Farms. In addition, Barbour led the visitors on a tour of Plainsview Growers in Allumuchy, NJ, where grower Arie VonVugt is working with Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station faculty to use switchgrass as a biofuel to power greenhouses.
The goal of the coveted trip to New Jersey by the Chinese agricultural faculty was to bring the knowledge gleaned on the visit back to their home research facilities. The professors teach Agricultural Production in a two- to three-year program at their respective universities in China, preparing their students for future careers in agriculture production and agribusiness.