April 08, 2011

Annual Ag Industry Days set for April 14-16

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Agriculture permeates every aspect of our lives. It’s fair to say it’s part of the atmosphere.

Thus the theme for this year’s Ag Industry Days at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The seventh annual SIUC Agriculture Industry Days runs Thursday through Saturday, April 14-16, culminating with “Ag in the Atmosphere,” a daylong event featuring presentations, demonstrations and displays all about agriculture and the role it plays in our daily lives.

The events are part of the Chancellor’s Inauguration Week activities that will showcase the campus, faculty and students. The theme for the week is “Advancing a Culture of Excellence.” Chancellor Rita Cheng’s installation as SIUC’s 22nd chancellor is set for 2 p.m. on Friday, April 15, in Shryock Auditorium. For more information, please visit www.chancellor.siuc.edu/installation/activities.html

The annual event, which highlights the many ways agriculture and SIUC impact lives here and around the world, promises fun and learning for all ages, said Todd Winters, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“Ag Industry Day has become a tradition for the SIUC College of Agricultural Sciences,” Winters said, recalling that President Barack Obama served as the keynote speaker at the inaugural event seven years ago, when he was a senator. “This year we are expanding and partnering with the Chancellor's Inauguration events with an‘Ag in the Atmosphere’ theme, highlighting not only our traditional agricultural program, but also our programsinthe environmental andrenewable resources.”

Things get rolling on Thursday, April 14, with the “Green Roof Open House.” Organizers invite visitors to drop by the Agriculture Building, 1205 Lincoln Drive, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to tour that facility’s “green roof.” Visitors will learn the science behind the concept, how it was created and will take a tour of the plant and vegetable research garden on the roof.

Friday, April 15, will be an entire day of events related to 4-H and Future Farmers of America contests. The day starts at 8 a.m. with registration, exhibits and refreshments at the SIUC Beef Cattle Evaluation Center, 599 Rowden Road. The following events are set for that day:

• Horticulture Competition, 8:30 a.m., Agriculture Building

• Livestock Competition, 9 a.m., Beef Cattle Evaluation Center

• Dairy Competition, 9 a.m., Dairy Center, 1695 McLafferty Road

At 11:30 a.m., Michelle Sullivan, a coordinator with the SIUC Office of Recruitment and Retention, will give a presentation on “Why the SIUC College of Ag?” Sullivan will touch on the many strengths of the diverse programs within the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the advantages they provide to students.

Judges will announce the official results of the contests from earlier in the day at 11:45 a.m., followed by a pizza party. Winners will receive their awards at a 1 p.m. ceremony.

“Friday's event also is used as a very important recruiting forum,” Winters said. “We expect 700 to 800 prospective high school students interested in agriculture and natural resources to attend.”

On Saturday, April 16, “Ag in the Atmosphere” begins at 9 a.m. at University Farms, 599 Rowden Road, offering a day of fun for everyone highlighting SIUC agriculture programs and the latest industry innovations and advancements, organizers said.

Those who attend will learn how to create beautiful landscaping, right down to finding out how to make their grass greener. They will take a walk with nature interpreters, who can offer insights and context into the natural world around us. Technicians also will demonstrate how they use ultrasound in the livestock industry.

Throughout the day, various state, federal and industry farm officials and representatives will be on hand to answer questions. SIUC student agriculture clubs and faculty members will share knowledge and entertain guests on topics including human nutrition, pet care, forestry, global information systems and flower arrangements. Kids will enjoy the petting zoo and Kids Corner, with special activities for them.

At 11:30 a.m., Chancellor Cheng will give the keynote address.

Saluki Barbeque, compliments of the Illinois beef and pork producers, will follow Cheng’s address at noon. Events wind down at 3 p.m.

Sponsors for this year’s events include Archer Daniels Midland, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Green View Co., GROWMARK Inc., Helitech, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association (as funded by the Soybean Check-Off), Potash Corp., Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Scates Farms and The Maschhoffs LLC.

To learn more about the College of Agricultural Sciences and Ag Industry Days, call 618/453-2469, visit http://coas.siu.edu, or join the event “SIUC Ag Industry Day” on Facebook.