Ag Day 2018 reminds CSU that agriculture is for everybody

Linc Thomas

Some people drink, some people smoke, but most importantly everybody eats. CSU understands that significance, which is why every year hands and hooves are joined to celebrate Ag Day.

“Agricultural College Day” was the first mention of an “ag day” at Colorado State University in 1904, when the university was still under the name Colorado Agriculture College. In 1981, CSU began the official tradition known as Ag Day, and for the last 37 years the CSU community has celebrated the most historic college of the university and has paid homage to the Rams who started an entire legacy that many confide in today.

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“For students, teachers, colleagues, this is Colorado’s ag-family reunion. We have an identity that relates to the “A” and the things we have done at this university. We should be proud of it.” -James Pritchett, executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences

David McKinney, a senior horticulture student, gave his thoughts on his Ag Day transition from skeptic to advocate. He explains that he first saw the experience as just a tailgate where clubs could recruit and there was good food aplenty.

“I connected and networked with a couple people and got a free bag of potatoes out if it,” said McKinney. “Now, my Ag Day experience is an incredible celebration of Colorado Agriculture. Every facet of ag from across the state is represented, whether that is food, economics, or floriculture. It is also a beautiful opportunity for trade organizations to invest in their futures by providing dozens of scholarships to CAS students.”

Tickets are available online at agday.agsci.colostate.edu, and there is still time to volunteer for a free BBQ ticket.

Since it’s dawn in ’81, Ag Day has always been located at Hughes Stadium. A unique hurdle the College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) has encountered this year and last is the relocation from Hughes to the IM fields.

“Since we’ve moved [Ag Day] towards the new stadium, we’re bringing more people to our main campus, so we’re hoping they will be more inclined to visit things like the Arboretum and Annual Trial Gardens,” said horticulture and landscape architecture professor Dr. James Klett.

From controlled greenhouse environments taught under Dr. Steven Newman and agriculture microprocessor classes taught under Dr. Jay Ham, to the JBS Global Food Innovation Center or the on-campus Plant Growth Facilities, these are programs that are helping develop the future of food. 

These generous contributions unify the crop production in this state on a single, albeit full, plate:

Potatoes- Colorado Potato Administrative Committee

Melons- Mike Bartolo

Legumes-Colorado Bean Growers Association

Breads- Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee/Ardent Mills

Lamb- Steve Levellay

Beef- Colorado Beef Council

Pork- Colorado Pork Growers Association

Seed packets- Nutrien

Cheeses- Dairy Max Co-Op, and Lucurne.

“Our notion of agriculture has evolved with our relationship with agriculture,” said James Pritchett, executive associate dean of CAS. “As most people have stepped out of producing their own food, we have become more involved in knowing how our food is grown, processed, and preserved. In my time at CSU, interest in food is at an all-time high. It is such a cultural thing.”

Ag is not limited to any one type of person. According to Pritchett, 60% of students in the college come from non-ag backgrounds. The combination of traditional ag and “new ag” students have placed CSU as #14 top agricultural schools in the country.

Ag Day will be from 10am-1pm on September 22nd  located on the IM fields before the football game against Illinois State University. Country band Bonnie and The Clyde’s will be performing and educational booths from Colorado 4-H will also be present. More than $1 million dollars in Ag Day scholarships will be presented to students of the college. 

“We have great people,” Pritchett said. “For students, teachers, colleagues, this is Colorado’s ag-family reunion. We have an identity that relates to the “A” and the things we have done at this university. We should be proud of it.”

Linc Thomas can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @LincThomas1.

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