The Ag Council at the College of Agriculture held their 11th annual “Ag Week” this week. Various organizations within the college came together to host a variety of events for families and students to attend while learning about the agricultural industry.
The festivities kicked off on Monday morning when the AU Young Farmers and Block & Bridle pulled up to the Student Center Greenspace with trucks and trailers full of farm animals. The two clubs joined forces to hold a “Petting Zoo” for students, faculty and staff. The animals included an Alpaca, Llama, dairy calf, beef heifers, a sheep, and a goat.
Block & Bridle president, Ellen Rankins, was eager to educate students about the different animals.
“Most of these people have never seen any of these animals, let alone touched them. This event is our chance to show the public what we do in animal agriculture and start meaningful conversations with them.
Over 800 people stopped by the Petting Zoo, giving both clubs countless opportunities to spread their knowledge of agriculture.
On Tuesday afternoon, clubs and organizations set up carnival games at the ALFA Pavilion at Ag Heritage Park for the “Ag Carnival”. Families from the university and community came out for a night of food, fun and games along with a mechanical bull and bouncy house and slide.
Over 200 children went through the carnival by the end of the night making the event a huge success for the Ag Council.
Sigma Alpha professional agricultural sorority took over on Wednesday when they hosted the “Ag Hill Picnic” on Comer Lawn. The young ladies served plates of catfish or chicken with fries, coleslaw, hushpuppies, brownie and a drink to almost 300 people in a two-hour timespan.
Ashley Stegall, a freshman in Poultry Science and public relations chairwoman for Sigma Alpha, coordinated with the Ag Council to put on the event. Stegall boasted about the success of the picnic.
“The Ag Week Picnic was a huge success this year!” Stegall stated. “On behalf of the Sigma Alpha sisters, I would like to thank everyone who came out and bought a plate, and thank you to the college of ag and Ag Council for putting your trust in us to host the event. I am really proud of the hard work the Sigma Alpha girls put in to make this happen. We enjoyed seeing everyone there and we can’t wait for next year!”
In addition to the picnic, the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) passed out this semester’s edition of the “Agazine” – a magazine produced and edited by Agricultural Communications students. The production features articles on several different topics in agriculture written by the students and a farewell address from retiring Ag Council president Chandler Mulvaney.
Wednesday morning, long before the picnic began, two LifeSouth Blood Drive buses made their way up Ag Hill. Block & Bridle hosted a blood drive in memory of David Bufkin – father of agricultural communications senior, Michelle Bufkin. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to donate blood and raise awareness for Leukemia while supporting a fellow CoA student and her love for her father.
In the College of Agriculture, family is the most important thing. So when Bufkin’s father was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in November 2014, the college rallied behind the Bufkin family and held a blood drive in honor of her father. Since then, the Block and Bridle hosts a blood drive each year.
For Thursday morning, clubs lined the Haley Concourse for Ag Week’s first “Ag Awareness Day”. Students stood as ambassadors for agriculture and handed out informational cards on several different controversial topics in the industry.
“Ag Awareness Day is really important to those of us that are in agriculture because it gives us a chance to personally address the concerns that people may have about where their food is coming from and how it is produced. For me, the morning was about teaching people what GMO's are, how they work, and the benefits that come along with using them,” Wendland explained.
“If there is one thing that I hope students took away from Ag awareness day, it is that they can come to us as producers with their questions and fears at any time. Our number one goal is to produce safe, healthy food in a way that is environmentally friendly, and will continue to sustain life on earth for thousands of years to come. People need to know that. To do this, we have to embrace the technology that we have available. Every other industry in the world has evolved with technology, it shouldn't be scary if agriculture does too.”
Later that afternoon at 4 p.m., Robert Bertram, chief scientist in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Food Security, spoke on The End of Hunger – From Vision to Reality as part of the E.T. York lecture series. The lecture took place in The Hotel at Auburn University auditorium.
The week was rounded out on Friday morning when the Ag Ambassadors hosted “Get Ag-tive” for over 100 kindergarteners from the area. Clubs and organizations put on different “field day” activities involving agriculture.
Ag Ambassador president, John Allen Nichols, was extremely satisfied with the lives touched from “Get Ag-tive.
“It was such an exhausting day, but it was great to see all clubs coming together to make a difference. We may not have taught them much, but we did our best and that's all that matters.”
Founded in 2011, the Ag Council functions as the voice for the college of agriculture’s student body to the college faculty and administration as well as the SGA.
Administrators, faculty and numerous student leaders put in countless hours to ensure the success of Ag Week.
Megan Ross, Student Development and Programs Coordinator at the college of agriculture, serves as the advisor for the Ag Council and aided in the coordination and planning of the weeks events and activities.
“Ag Week has been a huge success,” Ross boasted. “Our students have interacted with over 1800 fellow students, faculty, and community members. I am so proud of our students and the work they have put into this week. They have given so much of their time and talents to make the events of this week really impact the Auburn University Campus and Community.”
Agricultural Communications junior, Abby Himburg, was highly satisfied with the outcome of the week.
‘”My favorite was most definitely the carnival on Tuesday. I enjoyed seeing all the clubs come together to host such a successful event for not only students but families as well,” stated Himburg. “The college of ag students always look forward to Ag week and the many fun activities that come along with it. It is because of events like Ag week that our college is such a success and allows students to form new friendships. I am so proud to be a student in the college of ag where we are always promoting agriculture and informing the public about the importance of it.”
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