A few weeks ago, I had my very final spring break, cue the sad violin. I traveled home to Pennsylvania to spend some time with family and friends. The conversation of my post-graduation plans always seems to plague pleasant conversations during my time home. More recently, I received some negativity regarding certain aspects of agriculture from family and friends, citing various articles or documentaries. Even the conversation at a doctor’s appointment shifts to the fear of GMOs – my optometrist should have seen my eyes roll. Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than people bashing agriculture based on misunderstandings or a lack of exposure to the industry. With misconceptions that follow agriculture around, here is a look into what it is really like to be a student studying in the agriculture field.
We are a diverse group of students. Agricultural students can study in a variety of disciplines such as animal sciences, entomology, plant sciences, food science and marketing. Each discipline is crucial to the agricultural industry. Our studies are woven together through our coursework. You can find us all over campus. We are out on the farm learning about crop growth and animal husbandry, in the field collecting insect specimens, in the lab conducting research and in the library doing lots of studying.
Research is at the forefront of our studies. Many students, including myself, conduct research in agricultural labs. The science of agriculture is constantly evolving and research allows for the development of innovative technologies. During my time at the University of Delaware, I have spent countless hours in a dairy nutrition laboratory researching top of the line ration additives that allow the farmer to preserve their feed harvested in the fall for year-round feeding.
We are involved on campus with clubs and organizations. Our commitment to agriculture doesn’t stop in the classroom. Most of us spend our waking hours, eating, living and breathing agriculture. There are countless clubs devoted to agricultural majors. Personally, I spend my free time involved as a sister of Sigma Alpha, an Ag Ambassador giving tours to prospective students, and as a puppy raiser for a guide dog foundation. Campus involvement has been the most memorable part of my college experience.
We deal with controversial issues involving agriculture. As I mentioned before, being an agricultural major comes along with controversial topics. Whether it be animal welfare or the fear of genetically engineered foods, everyone seems to have an opinion that they want to voice loudly at us. Being in the agriculture field means staying up-to-date on hot topic issues and always agvocating louder than the misguided information.
We love our studies! No matter what the major, agriculture students are fiercely passionate about their studies. Agriculture is our life and our future. I have found my niche in agriculture, a place where I feel right at home alongside my peers. I cannot imagine loving my major any more than I do.
So to my friends, family, acquaintances, and even doctors, I’ll leave you with a quote from Leslie Knope from the tv show, Parks and Recreation. Leslie loves parks just as much as I love agriculture. “If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly. And if I push too hard, it’s because things aren’t moving fast enough. This *agriculture* is my home. And I promise you – I’m not going anywhere.”
My time as a student may be coming to a close but it has given me a love for agriculture and that, I will have forever.