Thursday, December 4, 2014

Purdue Agronomy Club

I can’t believe the semester is almost over. Only 2 more weeks and I will be heading home for Christmas break. It is time for me to being preparing for finals. Here are my thoughts on one of the best clubs here at Purdue (I may be a little biased)….
Deciding to join the Purdue Agronomy Club was one of the best decisions that I have made since I became a Boilermaker. The Agronomy Club is full of down to earth people who all have a passion for making a difference through agronomy. We meet every week for a meal, a meeting or activity, and fellowship. We often go on tours. This semester we toured a Monsanto research center and the Diagnostic Training Center. We also invite guest speakers like alumni or people from the industry to speak; recently we had BASF come and share with us. We even do things like go bowling or go to shoot trap and skeet. The Agronomy Club is full of so many opportunities. I am going to tell you about a recent trip to California that I took with the club.
As a Purdue Agronomy Member we are also part of the national Students of Crops Soil and Environmental Science (SASES) organization. Every year they have a national meeting in the fall semester and a regional meeting in the spring semester. About a month ago we attended the national SASES meeting that was held in Long Beach, California. On October 31st at about 3:30 in the morning we headed to the Indianapolis airport for a trip that I will never forget. The first day there was open for exploration. We tried so great seafood, put our feet in the water at the beach, toured an aquarium, and finally got some sleep. 
This was at the aquarium 
At the Beach

Saturday we got up bright and early to go on tours that we signed up for. There were five different tours, and you could pick one to go on. The tours varied from seeing the wetlands of California, to seeing citrus, to cotton. I chose to tour the San Joaquin Valley. It was a two hour drive of seeing mountains after mountains. Once we got into the valley we stopped at a cotton gin to see how cotton is separated from its seed, cleaned and bailed to be sold. We drove by countless grape groves and almond orchards. Next we stopped at a field and got out to see lettuce being harvested. They got rain the day before so they had migrant workers harvesting the lettuce by hand. I learned that 10% of the world’s lettuce is produced right there in the valley. The lettuce that I saw being harvested was going to be on the shelves of a grocery store within the next 24 hours. Finally we stopped at a dairy operation. We learned about their total mixed rations (TMI) that they use, and saw their milking carousal being used. It was incredible the variety of crops that we saw on the tour. That night our president, Joe Atha competed against other schools in the president’s trophy competition.
Lettuce Fields being Harvested
The Cotton Gin 

 Sunday was a busy day of competing in competitions. We all participated in various competitions that varied from speech competition to poster contest, and from a crops judging to visual presentations and quiz bowl. We went away with 1st place in quiz bowl, 2nd place in the speech contest, 2nd and 3rd in visual presentations, and 4th in the poster contest. On the last day I ran for a national office and came home as the new SASES corresponding secretary. Some other things we did while we were there was hear a talk from the 2014 world food prize winner, Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram and attend a Purdue reception where we got to network with alumni. 
The New SASES Officers 
Taylor, Baily,  and I Presenting our Poster 

We all came back to Purdue exhausted, but it was so worth the trip. I learned that California is much different form the Midwest, and seeing crops other than corn and soybeans broadened my perspective of the agronomy sector of agriculture. This is just one amazing experience that I have gained through the Agronomy Club. The club has helped me to make some great friend, build on my leadership skills, network with people in the industry, go on some great trips and see some amazing things all while learning about agronomy. I hope that if you decide to come to Purdue that I see you at Agronomy Club as I was recently elected as our new president. 

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