When Daniel Boykin graduated high school in 2008, he had his sights set on specializing in beef cattle veterinary medicine.
However, before he stepped foot on campus for his undergraduate education, a North Carolina State University livestock Extension agent persuaded Boykin to take an internship with The Hanor Co. at one of its nucleus farms on the eastern side of the state.
“It was a nice internship because I had never really been exposed to commercial swine production, and it offered the chance to spend time in the boar stud, in the sow farm, in the nursery and in the finisher,” Boykin says. “That really gave a nice overview of all different phases of production, so to speak, in one summer.”
Boykin’s “out-of-the-classroom” exposure snowballed from there, with the young student taking eight more internships and seven externships over the course of his education, first at NCSU for his bachelor’s in animal science and then at the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine for his doctorate in veterinary medicine, with a food-animal focus.
He assessed the effectiveness of a swine dysentery control program with Randy Jones, Livestock Veterinary Services in Kinston, N.C., and completed a biosecurity assessment with Jeremy Pittman, Smithfield Foods.
Boykin characterized lesions of rejected pigs with Matt Turner, Prestage Farms in Clinton, N.C., and assessed semen motility characteristics during an internship with BRF in Brazil.
He took every free moment to connect off campus with industry members and continue his education. The internships and externships also solidified his interest in