Sep 102009
 
Authors: Scherer Robyn

It’s Saturday morning, and you are out at Hughes Stadium at 11 a.m. Why so early? To tailgate? No, to celebrate Ag Day!

During this weekend you should be reminded of the origins of your school and understand why Ag Day is such a great event. You will get to see CAM and will meet the faces of the people who supply your food.

CSU was originally named Colorado A&M. This is where our current mascot, a Rambouillet ram, CAM, got his name. The CSU colors, green and gold, were chosen to represent the agricultural background of the school.

When looking to the west, you can see the freshly painted “A” on the hill, which should remind you of CSU’s rich history in agriculture. Go Aggies!

Agriculture is extremely important. As the land used for agricultural production is being sold for developments, producers have to find different ways to produce food more efficiently while using fewer resources.

According to Jennifer Bond, an Ag Business professor, in 1990, only 2.6 percent of the United States’ current population worked in agriculture. This is compared to 90 percent who worked in the fields in 1790.

Farmers and ranchers are managing to produce more food now than they ever have using less land and fewer animals. How is this possible? Technology is the key.

Tractors can be controlled by GPS and can literally plant or plow a field with little human interference. Carcass weights on butcher animals have increased and animals reach butcher weight at earlier ages.

Working in agriculture is never easy. There is no guaranteed set price for meats and grains, and it can change daily.

Farmers and ranchers can work from sun-up to sun-down, and may only get paid once a year. It’s a difficult job, and we should be more appreciative of all of the hard work that goes into raising the food we so easily pick up at the grocery store.

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, farmers and ranchers only receive 20 cents for every dollar of product that is sold commercially. Imagine if you were paid so little for your labor.

Agriculture is a vast industry. More students need to be interested in the many fields of agriculture. In reality, there are many jobs that do not require “working on the farm” or “slopping with the pigs.”

Although, I have to admit a bit of hard work out in the fields can be good for anyone. It teaches discipline, time management and a good solid work ethic.

For those students who are attending CSU to pursue a degree in an agricultural field of study, I congratulate you. You are a small group, and you must lead in the future. You will eventually grow more efficient crops, produce better and healthier animals and find alternative fuel and energy.

So why is this important, and why does it relate to Saturday’s event? According to the CSU Ag Day Web site, the Ag Day barbecue will feature a variety of Colorado-grown or raised products, including: lamb, beef, pork, beans, potatoes, apples, dairy products, wheat bread, melons, water, soft drinks, Colorado-brewed beer and flowers.

Agriculture is a vital part of our state’s economy, and you should do what you can to support that. Another way to do this is to look for Colorado grown products in your grocery store, which are generally branded as Colorado Proud.

Ag Day is an opportunity for you to support local agriculture and for you to visit the very roots this school was founded on.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal sciences major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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