March 29, 2006

Agriculture Industry Day set for April 22

by K.C. Jaehnig

This year's Agriculture Industry Day, a free event set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale farms complex, 599 Rowden Road, will start off with plenty of hot coffee and doughnuts — two features sorely missed last year by the 750 people who braved chilly winds and sunless skies to attend the inaugural event, and a lack Minish pledged to do something about.

"There will be plenty when people get there in the morning to make up for last year," College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Minish said with a grin.

"And then it will probably warm up to 75 degrees, and we'll wish we'd served iced tea." Food isn't the only temptation on this year's program. While the first Ag Industry Day focused on research, teaching takes center stage this time around.

"We're providing 12 ‘Go to College Day' experiences for prospective students, their parents and our industry people to see the breadth and scope of our college teaching program and to let people know there's more here than meets the eye," Minish said.

The first afternoon session, running from 1 to 2 p.m., will feature classes in companion animal care, human nutrition, fire as a forest restoration tool, landscape design and construction, campground design, and sales and marketing skills.

Those in afternoon classes, set for 2 to 3 p.m., will see how scientists use molecular tools to improve plants and animals, learn the tricks of handling a stallion, try their hand at commodity trading, watch what goes into preparation of the very best chili, observe how sensors, controls and programming can automate farm tasks, and find out what makes golf greens so … green.

As a further lure, the college will award six $500 scholarships that day. Details are still in the works, but, as the old saying goes, students "must be present to win."

Morning activities will mix exhibits with talks. SIU's new president, Glenn Poshard, will talk about the things that make SIUC the right choice for students and their parents, while Ken Maschhoff, president and chief executive officer of a Carlyle firm that ranks as the country's third largest independent swine producer, will tell those attending how to succeed in the corporate world with a bachelor's degree from SIUC.

Megan A. McCallister of Charleston, the college's top senior this year and a major in food and nutrition, will share what it's like to be a student, and Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk will talk about — what else! — the Saluki sports program.

"Since we've won the (Missouri Valley basketball) championship (March 5), it's nice to partner with the athletics program," Minish said. "They're winners, and we like to partner with winners."

As before, the Illinois beef and pork producers associations will supply meat for a barbecue prepared by college food and nutrition experts.

"We hope everyone on campus and the surrounding areas will come and eat with us and learn a little more about the college," Minish said.

Sponsors this year include Archer Daniels Midland, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Growmark Inc., Helitech, the Illinois Beef Association, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Nurseryman's Association, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, the Illinois Soybean

Association, The Maschhoffs Inc., McGee Limousin, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. and Patrick Scates & Sons.

For more information on Agriculture Industry Day, call 618/453-2469.

Shaping cooperative ventures and celebrating faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.