Wednesday, November 19, 2014

National Undergraduate Agronomy Meetings

Hello!  My name is Carl Joern.  I am a senior in Agronomy and will be graduating this December.  I recently accepted a position with DuPont Pioneer as a Production Agronomist within their Emerging Leaders Program.  If you ever have any questions regarding the Agronomy Department, the College of Agriculture, or Purdue in general, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

I would like to share with you my experience at the national agronomy meetings this month.  As a member of Purdue’s Agronomy Club, I had the opportunity to attend the national conference for Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences (SASES).  The Agronomy Club and Department sponsored the travel, board, and several meals for a dozen of us undergraduates to attend!  The conference lasted four days and was in Long Beach, California.  Why go to these meetings?  It’s a great opportunity to meet other students, graduate students, professors, and industry professionals from all across the country.  4000 members, including our parent societies (ASA, American Society of Agronomy; CSSA, Crop Science Society of America; and SSSA, Soil Science Society of America) attended the conference!

Aside from various opportunities to meet and network with peers, we had the opportunity to compete in a number of contests.  Purdue had great success taking home awards for visual presentations, the speech contest, and winning the national quiz bowl.  Our members also participated in a crops judging contest and poster presentations.  We also took one day of the conference to go on a tour about local agricultural practices.  It was quite a change of scenery visiting avocado orchards in addition to celery and berry fields.  Other tours available were about conservation of soils, wetlands, and surface waters.  There was plenty of interesting local research going on in the area! 

The SASES meetings were not a whole bunch of work and no play by any means.  We had ample free time to visit the beach and swim in the ocean, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, and dine at the local restaurants.  The conference also sponsored a casino night and dance.  While in California, Purdue hosted a networking event for the whole Purdue Agronomy “Family.”  A great time was shared by alumni from industry, faculty, and students.

The national SASES meetings provide yet another perk to studying Agronomy at Purdue.  We had the opportunity to listen a seminar given by this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram. Fellow ambassador, Michaela Turner came back from the conference as a national officer!  If I still have not sold you on attending SASES, please reach out to me directly or one of our other ambassadors.  Thanks for taking time to read our blog!

Our view of palm trees and the Pacific ocean was quite different from the corn and soybean fields we came from!

Strawberry production:  drip tape irrigation to mitigate local drought conditions and clear mulch to eliminate weed competition

Raspberry production in a hoop house

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