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Ag Day on Campus at UW-River Falls Helps Connect Food to Farming
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/01/2024

Agriculture is closely interwoven in the history of both the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the state of Wisconsin, and organizers of this year’s annual Ag Day on Campus hope to connect with event attendees to focus on farming’s future as well.

The event, which focuses on the important roles that agriculture plays in people’s lives. runs from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, in the area in front of the University Center, E. 501 Wild Rose Ave., River Falls. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved inside the University Center.

This year’s theme, “growing for generations,” symbolizes the longtime, pivotal role that agriculture has played in Wisconsin and how it continues to have a significant impact even as farming undergoes changes, said student organizers Aleah Cole and Lashawna Vogel.

“It’s about the generational aspect of agriculture, how that has been so important and has developed through the years, and how agriculture really connects us all,” said Cole, a senior animal science major from Sartell, Minn.

Ag Day on Campus was started at UW-River Falls in 2012 by the university’s Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter. The event will include a display of tractors – a symbol of agriculture – along with another ag icon, Colleen the Dream, a large fiberglass Holstein cow.

Many booths staffed by agriculture industry workers and representatives of student agriculture clubs will be at Ag Day, which will also be attended by Princess Kay of the Milky Way, UW-River Falls student Emma Kubal as well as the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair, a position currently held by Kelsey Henderson.

A favorite activity is attendees being able to view and pet farm animals.

“That is always a big draw,” Cole said. “People love to see and pet the animals.”

Adding to the fun, attendees can test their skill riding a mechanical bull.

“That is something we hope will add some fun to this event,” said Vogel, a junior agriculture marketing communications major from Denmark.

As part of the event, a panel of agriculture experts will discuss trends in modern agriculture and skills the ag industry is looking for in its employees. A free dinner featuring foods grown locally will be served at 5 p.m. in Room 200 of the Agricultural Science building on campus.

Food – specifically where food comes from – is a focus of the event. With so many people not living on farms, they often don’t make connections between food and farms, Vogel said.

“So many people are three generations removed from a farm,” she said. “They go to the grocery store to buy food, but they often don’t think about where their food really comes from and all that is necessary to get that food to the store.”

Cole and Vogel said Ag Day on Campus takes months of planning and is only possible because of the help of so many students. Between 50-60 students took part in planning this year’s event. Mike Orth, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), echoed that sentiment.

“The participation of our CAFES students in Ag Day events demonstrates students’ commitment to agriculture and helping others realize its critical role in the health and well-being of our society,” he said.

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