Virtual Farming

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File this post in the proof-there-is-something-online-for-EVERY-teacher-to-use-with-their-students file.  Last weekend Kelly and I went to the AMA Superbike races with our friends Grant and Dylan.  Grant is an ag teacher at a local high school, so on the way down there was lots of “teacher talk” as Kelly calls it going on in the back of the car.  As Grant and I compared notes on discipline, grading, and using technology in the classroom he brought up Showcattle.com, Showhog.com, and Showdog.com.  Each of these sites is an online game where users can create and maintain their own virtual commercial cattle ranch, pig farm, or dog breeding business.  Here is the site description from Showcattle.com

Welcome to ShowCattle.com, the unique simulation game that allows YOU to be the owner of your very own commercial cattle ranch.

You are the manager and owner of your ranch; all decisions ultimately must be made by you. Decide whether you will raise show cattle or operate a feedlot. Will you run a large ranch with several breeds, or a small ranch with only a breed or two? Will you try to raise the next grand champion steer?

ShowCattle.com allows you complete control over the breeding of your cattle with several realistic options like pasture breeding, artificial insemination, and embryo transfer. Choose from over a dozen breeds and breed pure or cross them to create other breeds. You can raise pure Angus, or cross them with Brahman to create Brangus, or Maine Anjou to create Maine Angus.

Show your cattle in daily jackpot shows, and earn premiums for your winning steers. Rise in the ranks to become first for your state or breed. Choose feed rations for your cattle and decide when to send them to market based on the dynamic game economy.

Whether you run a real life commercial ranch or your only contact with cattle is on your dinner plate, ShowCattle.com has something for you.

As I did a little research for this post I also found out that the same publisher produces Showcat.com and Showhorse.com.  For some reason I am completely amazed by these sites.  I had no idea they were there!  I also didn’t know this much work went into producing beef, dogs, cats, horses, and pigs.  There are more than two types of cows?  I thought there were two – one for milking and one for eating.  I should probably play a few rounds to appreciate where my food and pets come from.

Grant said his students are wild about these sites and I can see why.  Most of the features are free, but you can subscribe for advanced features.  Here is a list of what you get on Showdog.com for $4.95 per month.  I wonder if ag programs can get a site or department license?

Do I have to subscribe to play this game?

No, you don’t have to but if you want to have more than five dogs, the ability to breed your bitches, the ability to place your dogs up for stud, or some other features that enhance the sim, we do charge a small monthly fee.

On that note, let me get back to producing the ulitmate dachshund.

Joe

Photo: Superior Cattle by Watch4U on Flickr

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