Preparation for Agriculture Awareness Week
Every year, the North Carolina Chapter hosts Agriculture Awareness Week (AAW) on the Brickyard of NC State’s campus to network with other clubs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and help a university with 30,000 plus students learn more about agriculture. Although the university was founded in agricultural and mechanical arts, most students are not from farming backgrounds. AAW is now considered a campus tradition and has been going on for over thirty years. Kaitlyn Moody and Haley Keller, the co-chairs of the AAW Committee began planning the event since AAW concluded last spring. The committee worked to prepare for the arrival of animals, plants, and equipment on campus. The committee contacted alumni, faculty, student organizations, and contest participants. The t-shirt committee designed t-shirts to sell during the week and the leadership committee presented agricultural information at meetings leading up to the event. Brothers camp out on the Brickyard in shifts all day and night from March 19th to March 23rd. All of the 24 active brothers are expected to participate in a minimum of three 3-hour shifts, two during the day and one at night.
Sunday morning, four brothers traveled to the university’s Small Ruminant Educational Unit and Beef Educational Unit to wash two sheep, two goats, and cow calf pair that we borrowed for the week. The rest of the brothers worked to set up on the Brickyard on Sunday from 10am to 6pm. In one tent, animal pens were set up for the alpacas, goats, sheep, and pigs. Another pen was set up under a tent for the cow calf pair. Brothers helped with the arrival of the animals and helped them settle in. Brothers were instructed to use hand sanitizer and fill out animal care charts when working in the animal pens. In the large tent, we set up tables to prepare for the arrival of the various clubs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on Monday morning.
And so Agriculture Awareness Week Begins
At 9am on Monday March 20th, the different club representatives signed in and set up in the tent. The Alpha Zeta booth included our picture boards, AAW t-shirts, a silent auction, and Kiss-the-Pig contest fundraising jars. Brothers sat at the table to talk with students interested in joining Alpha Zeta or buying t-shirts. Other brothers were stationed with the animals to answer questions from students, make sure no one touched the animals, provide fresh water and make sure the pens were clean.
AAW is kicked off with two faculty members and two Alpha Zeta members competing in pairs against one another in Ag Olympics. Dr. Chad Jordan, Dr. Adam Fahrenholz, Ashley Pekrul, and Megan Codallo participated in competitions including seed spitting, hog calling, and a three-legged race.
Administrative Change and What it means for Agriculture Forum
During Agriculture Awareness Week we hold a forum regarding the issues in agriculture to help educate the brotherhood, as well as the public. We advertise this forum throughout the week through social media and word of mouth. This year the forum was held on Monday at 5:30pm. The theme was focused on the recent administrative change both nationally and locally and how these changes affect agriculture. The President of the Agri-Life Council here at NC State, Coleman Simpson, opened up the forum by introducing the panelists and stating the topic. We then heard from our wonderful panelists, including two professors of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Dr. Barry Goodwin and Dr. Marne Coit, professor of Crop and Soil Sciences, Dr. Richard Reich, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dean Richard Linton, professor of Agricultural History Dr. Matthew Booker, and Assistant to the Farm Bureau President Peter Daniel. The floor was then opened up for questions. Many brothers and members of the community attended this year. After the forum we thanked the panelists for taking time out of their evening to come educate us on this topic and gave each of them an AAW t-shirt.
On Wednesday at noon we had our annual milking contest. A couple of brothers went to the Dairy Educational Unit to wash the cows, one Jersey and one Holstein, before the contest. Four members of the Raleigh Fire Department from station 20 and four members of the NCSU Police Department went head to head in a relay to see who could milk the most milk from our two lovely dairy cows. Each contestant milked his or her respective cow for one minute before tagging the next person in the relay. Brothers poured the buckets into mason jars for measuring and the contest resulted in a tie. Both teams had a wonderful time and can now claim that they know how to milk a cow.
On Wednesday night we held our annual Alumni Dinner and invited as many alumni that were able to join us for dinner. One of our brothers, Kaitlyn Moody, made salad, a ton of baked spaghetti, and rolls for everyone to enjoy. Dessert was provided by other brothers and ranged from key lime pie to a caramel turtle poke cake. Everything was delicious and it was wonderful to spend quality time with all of the alumni that came out.
Another Successful Agriculture Awareness Week comes to a Conclusion
On the last day of Ag Awareness Week, March 23rd, we completed the festivities with the Kiss the Pig contest. All week we had mason jars out that had names of different campus celebrities on them. People put money in the jars to help their person to win and kiss the pig. The contestants included beloved professor and AZ alumnus Dr. Bob Patterson, intimidating and well-known animal science professor Dr. Shweta Trivedi, and Brent Jennings who is an extension associate for the Animal Science department. At noon, we counted up the jars and Dr. Bob Patterson was the winner by a long shot and ended up having to kiss the pig. He was a little nervous but he gave the squealing pig a big ole kiss on the snout! The funds raised from the event went to the farmer’s in Oklahoma who lost cattle and crops to the wildfires. From 1pm until everything was cleaned up, about ten brothers helped to break down everything and clear out the Brickyard. Overall the week was a success and a fun time for the brothers and for all of the students on campus who learned something new about agriculture.