Community Voices, April 2015

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Planting season is in full swing across southwest Minnesota and it is always a busy and exciting time for the agriculture community. SMSU’s Ag community continues to plant and grow new opportunities as well. With the establishment of our new programs in Ag Solutions, Ag Education and the Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture, we have seen tremendous growth in student engagement in all of our Ag programs and a growing level of interest from new and transfer students in these degree offerings.

Tracy Fink began her duties as the new Director of Marketing, Recruitment and Outreach for Agricultural Programs this past month and has quickly made an impact in the Ag circles across the state. With her help we were fortunate to host the state FFA Foundation on campus recently and she has been a featured speaker in numerous classrooms across southern Minnesota promoting opportunities in agriculture at SMSU.
Our current students have also been involved nationally with the Post-secondary Agriculture Students (PAS) Organization. Four students qualified for and competed at the national PAS competition in Boise, Idaho this past month. They competed in several categories and SMSU Junior Felicia Pineda got first place in her competition and was also elected the National Secretary for PAS.

The SMSU AgBowl, which has been an annual event each fall where we celebrate agriculture and the many opportunities for students educationally and vocationally, reached a new milestone this past February with the Ag Bowl Scholarship Invitational. More than 500 FFA students from across the state competed at SMSU in fifteen FFA certified Career Development Events. The contests allowed students to compete and earn scholarship opportunities to further their academic careers at SMSU. Ralco, Syngenta, CHS, Titan Machinery, Midwest Ag Enterprises, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, ADM and Channel were all significant sponsors that helped make the event a huge success.

With the growth of our agronomy program, our students and faculty were also able to undertake significant research projects this spring. SMSU alum Tom McLaughlin generously donated several acres of land for use that is allowing our students to conduct research in conjunction with a number of local companies and a large national organization. Many thanks to Professor Lee French and his students for their work incorporating undergraduate research in their program.

SMSU is also excited to welcome another new professional to our SMSU Ag family. Olga Reuvekamp began her duties this month as the new Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) Executive Director. MARL is a tremendous program that develops the skills of Minnesota’s Agricultural and rural leaders so they may maximize their impact and effectiveness in local, state, national, and international arenas. The program is offered in partnership between SMSU, the U of M and the SMSU Foundation. We look forward to the leadership that Olga brings to the MARL program and the experience and networks that she will share with the entire SMSU Ag community.

These are just a few of the exciting things that are growing within SMSU Ag programs. There is significant momentum across the state and region and I look forward to building on that momentum and continuing to nurture further opportunities to promote agriculture at SMSU.
 

 

Published in the Marshall Independent, Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Last Modified: 2/16/17 4:26 PM