Each fall, thousands of people gather before a Colorado State University football game to celebrate what the college was founded on: agriculture. CSU’s annual Ag Day raises funds for scholarships for students, while providing a meal that celebrates Colorado grown food.
Presented by Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and numerous Colorado agricultural trade associations and organizations, this year’s Ag Day took place on September 22.
An estimated 3,000 people attended the event, and consumed food donated by the Colorado Beef Producers, Colorado Pork Producers, Colorado Wheat Growers, Colorado Lamb Producers, Colorado Potato Association, Grant Farms and the Western Dairy Association.
According to the Ag Day website, “Colorado agriculture has always been and continues to be a vital part of our state’s history and economy. Agriculture is the second-largest industry in Colorado.”
Several administration officials gave remarks, including the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Craig Beyrouty.
“I just want to point out the importance of agriculture to the Colorado economy. You know we generate about $40 million dollars in economic activity right here in Colorado with Colorado agriculture, and that supports 170,000 jobs. Our exports are increasing, which is going to continue to increase that economic activity so this is something that we are really proud of,” said Beyrouty.
He continued, “I tell you, what’s just as important, maybe even more important, are the students that are coming out of Colorado State University. The students who are going to be going out into the field, and who are going to be going out and doing cutting edge research to help solve many of the challenges in agriculture, and help us feed this growing population. With you being here today and helping to support scholarships, these students, these deserving students, can do the work they are going to be needed to do in the future. Again, I just want to thank you for being here and enjoying all of what Colorado agriculture has to offer.”
CSU President Tony Frank also spoke to the attendees. “Today we celebrare the 150th anniversary of the signing of the land grant act that granted places like CSU. From that, we see that great heritage that started out as Colorado Agricultural College, and became Colorado A&M,” Frank said.
He continued, “A hundred and fifty years ago when Abraham Lincoln signed that act and created not only land grant universities but in the same year the united states department of agriculture, they were trying to meet a challenge of feeding a growing nation. Today, the challenge is how we will feed 9 billion people within our children’s lifetime. There is no reason to think that agriculture can’t do that, given the success we have had today.”
Frank then spoke to the crowd about the importance of Ag Day, and what it supports. “Enjoy the great ag products out here, and next time you are in the store, think about the students at CSU who will be the next generation to produce them, the researchers that are helping to make it possible today, and think mostly about the farm families that put it on our table right now,” he said.
Even though he did not speak, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed a proclamation that designated Sept. 22, 2012 as CSU Ag Day.
Proceeds from ticket sales provide scholarships for students of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. This year 20 students were given scholarships, up from 12 last year. Since 2000, Ag Day has raised over $250,000 and given more than 150 scholarships to CSU agricultural science students. The students come from a variety of backgrounds.
The 2012-2013 scholarships were awarded to the following students: Chelsea Boggs, Equine Science major from Castle Rock, Colo.; Derek Brown, Animal Science major from Wellington, Colo.; Dan Buelow, Environmental Horticulture major from Mosinee, Wis., Ben Canales, Landscape Architecture major from Tacoma, Wash.; Shelby Cochran, Agricultural Education major from Windsor, Colo.; Joshua Deines, Agricultural Education major from Montrose, Colo; Rachel Fithian, Bioagricultural Sciences major from Elkhorn, Neb.; Cole Grett, Agricultural Business and Soil and Crop Sciences major from Olathe, Colo.; Conor Guidarelli, Soil and crop science major from Longmont, Colo.; Patrick Halda, Agricultural Business major from Cheyenne Wells, Colo.; Heather Hammack, Horticulture major from Phoenix, Ariz.; Morgan Hargrove, Animal Science major from Dallas, Texas; Stormy Havens, Equine Science major from Basalt, Colo.; Melinda Hendrickson, Agricultural Education major; Michele Kane, Equine Science major, Jennifer Latour, Agricultural Sciences major from Poynette, Wis.; Rebecca May, Agricultural Education and Agricultural Business major from Brush, Colo.; Kaitlyn Sugano, Equine Science major from Colorado Springs, Colo.; Emily Troxtell, Soil and Crop Sciences major from Pueblo, Colo.; Curtis Utley, Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management Master’s student from Northglenn, Colo.❖