Why Agriculture Classes Should Be Required

Why Agriculture Classes Should Be Required

Why Agriculture Classes Should Be Required

It’s more than just farming.

When you think of the word agriculture, what do you picture? Does the word farming pop in your head? Do you picture fields of corn and pastures with cattle; or do you think of a $985 billion industry that is responsible for your food, clothing, and basically every single item you own? This statistic is the number one reason why I believe every student should be required to take an agriculture course.

Coming into college, there are a list of general education requirements you must complete to receive your degree. These general education courses make students “well-rounded” adults by learning knowledge of the world, arts, and information vital to their future; but, never once have I seen agriculture be required unless it was for an “ag” major. Agriculture is the reason people have food and clothes. It affects your shopping habits, your driving habits, what restaurants you eat at, and how you view the world overall. If this is an industry that affects every aspect of your life, why is it not on every student’s required curriculum?

Students would not necessarily have to sit down and learn how to farm, but they could have open access to the multitude that an agriculture departments offer. There are classes about horticulture, animals, economics, technology, communications, business, crops, education, soils, and many more. No agriculture professor is going to require their students to memorize art work from the 17th century or read Shakespeare, but they are going to give them information that is vital to their lives.

The education received in an ag course will turn students into educated consumers and open their eyes to the importance of this industry. While grocery shopping for themselves or for their families in the future, they would be educated to make the choice between a product that is organic and one that is not. They would know where their vegetables, meat, and grains are coming from when they sit down to have a meal. Students would be educated about how farming practices are used all over the world, rather than watching scary documentaries their cousin shared on Facebook. Maybe we could even take the words “factory farming” out of people’s vocabulary if they understood farming practices.

I could be biased since I am an agriculture major, but I see an importance for educating the public about the agriculture industry. We are more than sows, cows, and plows. The department is more than farmers, it is a range of students from inner-city Chicago to some podunk town who have found a passion for what agriculture does for the world. You don’t have to be a farmer to study agriculture. You just have to be someone who values the world you live in.

Preparing for Family Questions

Preparing for Family Questions

Preparing For Family Questions

Prepare Yourself For Graduation, Engagement, and Babies

When you spend hours with your extended family at a Christmas party, prepare for the interrogation of a lifetime. In college they prepare you for job interview questions and how to perfect your resume; but I’m here to assist during the holiday questions.

1. “What are you going to do with your degree?”

Get A Job

This one is inevitable. I don’t know aunt Barb, I’d rather marry rich at this point. Just kidding, instead you can come of a generic elevator speech of your goals. Act like it’s the “where do you see yourself in five years?” question in a job interview.

2. “Is there even a future in *insert major*?”

Strangle

I have a real major in a real industry, so yes. This is what I enjoy and there are many options like. . .(name options in your field). . .

3. “When are you getting married?”

Eye roll

When I feel like it. End of story.

4. “Can’t you just wait to have kids?”

What?

Why is this always asked? How do you even know if I want kids? Plus, I can hardly take care of myself since I’m in college. I don’t want to discuss having little me’s running around.

5. “How much longer in school?”

Forever

1 year. 2 years. 3 years. 4 years. 17 years. I don’t know yet.

6. “How was your semester? Did you get good grades?”

Best I Could

I just took finals. Instead I just ask you to pray for my GPA. Besides, FERPA exists; I don’t have to discuss this with you.

7. “What are you going to do with your degree?”

Be Quiet

I know I already discussed this one, but please understand every family member that crosses your path will be asking you this. I want you to be prepared.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and I wish you the best of luck confronting your family. If you’re really bold, you can put all of your answers on a business card and hand them out to your family before they even ask…just a thought.

Christmas Movies You Should Watch Right Now

Christmas Movies You Should Watch Right Now

Christmas Movies You Should Watch Right Now

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Every Christmas one of my favorite things to do is sit down and watch the Christmas movie specials on television. I’m not talking about the cheesy Lifetime movies, I’m talking about the Christmas movies I’ve spent my entire life watching. There are just some movies every person should watch, so I’ve decided to name some of my favorites so everyone else can sit down with their family to watch them!

1. “Elf”Elf

The hilarious movie about Buddy the Elf, who leaves the North Pole in search of his biological father in New York. You get to follow buddy around as he adjusts to the American life and you learn a lot of great one-liners to work into your daily conversations.

2. “A Christmas Story”

A Christmas Story

The Christmas movie every child should watch and learn to love. Ralphie endures the pain of wanting a gift so much and constantly being told he can’t have it. The Parker family definitely has their quirks and it’ll make the whole family laugh.

3. “Home Alone”

Home Alone

Kevin McCallister lives every child’s dream: a huge house to themselves. That is until he has to fend off robbers by himself, good thing he has a few tricks up his sleeve.

4. “The Santa Clause”

The Santa Clause

Once upon a time I owned this movie on VHS and I wish I knew where it was because I lived on this movie as a kid (good news, it was just added to Netflix!). Scott Calvin accidentally scares Santa off the roof and quite possibly kills Santa Claus. He and his son Charlie then get to learn the ropes of the North Pole when Scott must become Santa Claus. Save yourself the hassle, just watch the whole trilogy right in a row!

5. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

This movie is on repeat at my house during the Christmas season. Clark Griswold is sure to make the whole family laugh as he puts up with the crazy antics of his own dysfunctional family.

6. “Miracle on 34th Street”

Miracle on 34th Street

This one is definitely a classic and it is one of my favorites because it is a heart-warming Christmas story. The new Macy’s Santa Claus just might possibly be the real Santa and he must prove the spirit of Christmas is still alive.

7. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I don’t care if you’re 5 or 100, this is a classic, and it might make you appreciate your drooping Christmas tree just a little more.

8. ” Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas”

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

When the Grinch sets out to destroy Whoville Christmas, you might be torn deciding if you’re more like the Grinch or Cindy Lou Who. Plus the dog Max makes an adorable reindeer.

9. “The Family Stone”

The Family Stone

Strictly including this because my mom loves this movie, and strangely enough her playing it enough made me like it too. It is a dysfunctional family trying to make it through the holidays, we can all relate.

10. “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

One word: adorable.

11. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys”

The Island of Misfit Toys

I feel like I’m the only one who likes this one….but come on, Rudolph saves the day!

I probably missed a few great Christmas movies, but make sure to make time to sit down and watch a few of these this holiday season!

Thoughts Of A College Student Near Finals

As finals become closer and closer the thoughts that cross my mind become crazier and crazier. I can only assume that others are having the same thoughts about their grades, their futures, and how to handle stress. All of these thoughts pass through my head at least once a day…

1. I’m going to start studying now so I can pass all my finals.

I can do this. Just one hour. Oh look, Netflix magically popped up on the screen.

2. Let me search campus for a husband so I can fulfill my trophy wife dream.

3. What if I moved to Australia?

I could buy a one-way ticket with the little bit of money I have left.

4. Is it possible for me to get a 304% on my final to raise my D to an A?

5. Okay, now I’m actually going to start studying for my finals.

Oh wait, it’s my nap time. I’ll study once I wake up.

6. Christmas is almost here, I can make it two more weeks.

Then mom and dad are responsible for feeding me and I don’t have to go buy groceries.

7. I’ve done a lot today, I deserve a break.

I got out of bed, I ate that whole pizza by myself, and I scrolled through all my social media. I’m exhausted.

8. Can I buy my whole family Christmas gifts with the two dollars I have left?

You get a pack of gum! You get a pack of gum! Everyone gets a pack of gum!

9. Do I actually need this degree?

I know I have dedicated the past three years to school, but really, is this degree necessary?

10. I should organize my clothes by color, brand, and how often I wear them.

That is much more important than studying for this test right now

11. I could probably make a full-time career at McDonald’s work for the rest of my life.

Then I could get a discount on chicken nuggets…

12. Wait, how much do strippers make annually?

It’s probably more than my career choices offer.

13. How much stress does one have to endure before they start pulling out their hair?

14. Alright, finals start tomorrow, I should probably start studying.

Treasure Your Friends

Treasure Your Friends

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Respect One Another, Love One Another, Be There For One Another

In second grade I moved two states away and I lost touch with many of my childhood friends. After eighth grade I transferred schools and I lost touch with most of my grade school friends. The moment I walked across the stage at my graduation ceremony, I lost touch with most of my high school friends. After my freshman year of college, I had lost touch with nearly everyone I had been friends with before college. And after my sophomore year of college, I was only friends with people I had met in college.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these friendships were crucial in helping me become the person I am today, but walking away from the friendships benefited me more. Some of my friendships were only there because I saw the person on a daily basis at school, some friendships extended outside of school because we had similarities, and very few friendships were maintained over time.

At one point in time these friendships meant the world to me, but we grew up and we learned who we were. There were life events that wedged us further and further apart, some we could control, and others we couldn’t. I’ve lost friends because one of us moved, one of us found other friends, we found different hobbies and interests, relationships became more important, or because we simply could not see past the wrongdoing of the other.

Today, I have a very close nit group of really good friends that I keep up with regularly. I have other friends too, such as work friendships, school friendships, and organizational friendships, which I value because every person that comes into my life influences and shapes me. The close group of friends that I do have mean the world to me. They are the people I can count on to cheer me on, help me through tough times and let me vent for hours on end. Never let go of the friends that make you feel better about yourself.

If you are reading this, I am asking you to value your friendships, both past and present. Be respectful of one another, love one another, and be thankful for one another. Respect one another, whether that be their property, their opinion, or their choices. If you don’t agree on something, address it, but let it pass. If it tears the friendship apart, then so be it; it was not a friendship worth keeping. Stop tearing one another down because of something that is out of your control. Do not gloat because you won an argument within your friends group and do not sulk because you lost.

It is the most painful thing in the world to lose a friendship that meant the world to you. These people are often harder to lose than a romantic relationship. If you can save your friendship, please do so, and if you cannot, understand there is a world with millions of others searching for a friend like you.

And for the friends I lost touch with, I’m still here; I’m still your friend from afar.

You can also find this post here.

Veganism Saves The World

Veganism Saves The World

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I Can’t Wrap My Mind Around This

Before I even start this article I feel the need to explain myself. In no way am I trying to degrade those who have chosen to go vegan, that is a personal decision. And before anyone makes the argument, “Well Rebecca, you don’t drink dairy milk so you are such a hypocrite,” I just want to say, I wish I could drink real milk but my body does not allow me to. Heck, I wish I could drink milk straight from the tank if I could. I am simply trying to understand the thought process behind some “vegan advertisements” I have seen spread and attempting to dismantle false arguments.

Recently, on my way to a study session on campus, I kept coming across Vegan Chalk Challenge images written all over the sidewalks. Things like “I love animals, so I went vegan” and “all animals deserve love, go vegan!” were written in colorful chalk in multiple prime locations on campus. The one that really got to me though was right outside of the building I was headed to.

Animal Agriculture

“Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of habitat destruction, water pollution, and species extinction. Watch Cowspiracy on Netflix”

Don’t even get me started on Cowspiracy, Food Inc, etc. If you want REAL information about REAL agriculture, contact a REAL agriculturalist. STOP BELIEVING EVERYTHING THE MEDIA FEEDS TO YOU! The media has an agenda and they make the world and agriculture seem scarier than it really is. This chalk drawing had so much to say and was citing a movie as its source.

If “Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of habitat destruction, water pollution, and species extinction,” please explain to me what would happen if we just magically got rid of animal agriculture? Would these cattle, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, horses, rabbits, etc. just roam free? Because in case you didn’t realize it, caring for these animals is animal agriculture. I love my animals just as much as the next animal agriculturalist, so I feed, tend to, and care for my animals but at the end of the day I realize that these animals serve a purpose — they are food. If we were to up and get rid of animal agriculture, these animals would no longer this caretaker for them 24/7. Eggs would not be fertilized and cows would grow uncomfortable and could contract infections from not being milked. Also, nonpoint sources of water pollution would still occur because getting rid of animal agriculture does not make farm animals magically stop pooping, because guess what:

Everyone Poops

So please, please tell me how this would work. Agriculturalists are constantly changing and watching their practices to assure the animals and the environment are safe. Before you attempt to argue about how horrible animal agriculture is, talk to an animal agriculturalist instead of watching a movie. End rant.

You can also find this post here.

The Mid-Semester Slump As Told By Parks And Rec

The Mid-Semester Slump As Told By Parks and Rec

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Leslie, I need your motivation right now

Let’s be clear, “Parks and Recreation” is the best tv show that has ever existed. I feel a deep connection to Leslie Knope’s enthusiasm and Ron Swanson’s dissatisfactory with the human population. I have watched the series repeatedly on Netflix and will probably continue to until the day I die. Now that it’s halfway through the semester, though, I feel an even deeper connection with the characters as I avoid homework or try to find some entertainment in the ten minutes I have to spare. This television cast can express more about how I feel half-way through the semester better than anyone I know, so that’s exactly what they’re going to do.

1. Waking up and downing my coffee to stay awake.

2. I refuse to check my bank account.

I might have $0, I might have $1000. All I know it that when I’m spending money, I’m paying with crumpled up dollar bills and change I found in my backpack.

3. I have zero motivation.

Between the stress, the sleepiness, and break seeming so far away, I have zero idea if I’ll make it to the end of the day.

4. Attempting to have a social life.

5. My elevated attitude problem.

Keep your stupid questions to yourself.

6. Reading the essay you wrote ten minutes before class.

7. Putting all of your homework off until the last minute.

8. Anxiously awaiting Christmas.

Christmas means a break from school!!!!

9. Remembering why I’m filling out scholarship applications.

10. When I can finally make it to a party.

No prior commitments? Don’t mind if I do!

11. Trying to eat healthy because my pants are getting tighter.

12. But then you remember, you only go to college once.

You can also find this post here.

It’s Harvest Time

It’s Harvest Time

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To those that work in acres, not hours

Now that it is fall it means combines and tractors are plaguing the fields with thousands of hardworking men and women putting in overtime so millions of mouths can be fed. I’ve grown up in the farming industry since day one — my mom literally had to wait for my dad to finish planting after her water broke with me – so, I have the utmost respect for the farmers in the fields, the employees at the elevator, and the families putting their lives on hold for this season.

Harvest is the time when so many men and women begin to call their combines, tractors, and semis home. They give up an eight hour night in bed to being able to take a nap here and there to make sure the crops go from the field to the bin smoothly. They put up with rain days, broken parts, long lines at the elevator, and not seeing their family constantly. These are the people eating supper at midnight and drinking their first cup of coffee at 4 AM to make sure all the work gets done. They are missing football games and dance recitals or weddings and nights out on the town to work, because this is the season that their livelihood depends upon. Everyone should respect the farmers spending countless hours in the field away from their families so everyone else can eat a meal with theirs.

Since I was eight years old my dad worked at the grain elevator and during fall it was a guessing game of when we would see him next. Hours were no longer 7 AM – 4 PM, instead they were when the farmers needed to haul in, which is pretty much 24/7. Nobody was making it to bed by 10 unless it was pouring down rain outside because set schedules do not exist during harvest. Farmers were in the field until that field was done, whether that be 8 PM or 3 AM, then got their few hours of sleep and headed back to the field. Since my dad was not the one in the field, he did not get to make his own schedule because it depended on the day and on when the farmers could get into the fields. Sometimes it meant my dad would sleep at work because it was the only time he could fit two hours of sleep into his schedule. I respect everyone who works at the grain elevators and putting in overtime for the entire harvest season.

To those who date or marry a farmer, one of the first rules is learning to love them during harvest and planting season. Right now, I currently have a boyfriend that just started in the fields. I don’t know the next time I’ll get to see him or hang out with him because his time is revolving around school and farming. I get to talk to him on the phone on his way home late at night or maybe get a quick text from him when he has a break because it is harvest time. When I do get to see him it might mean that I’m riding buddy seat in the tractor, but I’m okay with that because that is an enjoyable date to me. This is not the season to try and make plans with him and I’m perfectly okay with that because I know he and thousands of others are dedicating their time to feeding others.

All I can say is I’m thankful for those who give up all their time for an entire season.

You can also find this post here.

A Driver’s Guide To Harvest

A Driver’s Guide To Harvest

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How to have a safe and bountiful harvest this fall!

As harvest approaches and we start seeing more and more farm machinery on the road, it’s nice to be reminded of safety tips. Farmers are beginning to get into the fields, which means more are having to travel down county and country roads. When motorists are traveling in these areas it is nice to have a reminder of what to do when you come across large tractors, implements, and combines.

1. Watch for Farm Machinery

They’re not that hard to spot: giant green, red and blue machines in fields of brown. As soon as you spot a tractor or combine slow down and share the road with them.

2. Slow Down and Stay Back

Being so large, they cannot travel at speeds of 55 or 70 like your car can, so be prepared to slow down to 20 miles per hour or even slower. With that being said, it means you need to give them some space on the road too. They weigh thousands of pounds and are as big as a house, so they aren’t able to stop in five seconds. Remember to give them the space they need to slow down and turn and have some patience.

3. Pass With Caution

Again, take size into consideration when you are passing farm machinery. When they are bigger than the given lane it means that oncoming traffic and following traffic need to take precaution. Farmers are more than willing to pull off on the shoulder to let you pass (they understand they are a slow moving vehicle) but if they go from the shoulder onto the road then stay back! Understand that if a bridge or guard rail is coming up, they can’t stay on the shoulder and will have to take the majority of the road. When this happens, have patience because your life and that farmer’s life are more important than wherever you are going.

4. If You Can’t See the Farmer, They Can’t See You

If you are directly behind the combine or tractor and cannot see its mirrors, how do you expect the person in the farm equipment to spot you? Stay back and be cautious, because if a car and a tractor go head to head in an accident, the bigger of the two is obviously going to win.

5. Treat Them With Respect

These are the men and women helping to put food on your table, so there is no need to be angry with them for doing their job. I’m sure plenty of farmers have been flipped off or honked at for being a slow moving vehicle, but it is not necessary. They are being careful to keep you safe, so it is polite to only do the same for them. They have a family to go home to at the end of the day and so do you, so for the sake of everybody please drive smart this harvest.

 

You can also find this post here.

The Cliche Small Town Post

The Cliche Small Town Post

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Is my hometown even considered small? Or is it more minuscule? Either way, I love it.

I come from a town of 600 people, how many of those people actually live in the town and not in the country, I have no idea. I live three miles outside of town in the middle of a cornfield (literally in the middle of the cornfield). My elementary class had nine kids in it and I could tell you each kid’s middle name, parent’s name, parent’s occupation, where they lived, what kind of car they drove, who their siblings were, and their birthday because we were such a small class. When it was time to graduate eighth grade and go to high school, I wasn’t capable of going to the high school in my town. The high school was deactivated when I was in seventh grade because there were so few kids enrolled. So instead I had the choice of three high schools and traveled sixteen miles there and back for four years. My graduating class had thirty kids in it and most of the students had been together since Kindergarten. While we were such a small school and lots of times we got annoyed with one another, we were still extremely close. We took part in sports, FFA, FCCLA, and youth group together, we sat in the same classrooms together, and we hung out with one another on weekends together. When we graduated, we went all over the place for college and work but still remain friends with the people we went to school with.

Aerial View

In town there are very select things to do. There’s the gas station to catch up on gossip, fuel up your truck, and grab a bite to eat or the barbershop (*only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays) to drink coffee and discuss grain prices. If you feel like going out on the weekend, you can choose from the two bars in town or take the kids to see whatever movie is playing at the one screen theater in the next town over. Maybe you need to run some errands that day so you can go to the post office, print shop, pick up some ammo for hunting season, and take your car to the mechanic while you wait for your kids to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office. During harvest, the trucks are going in and out of the grain elevator and in the spring farmers are lining up to have their fields sprayed. If a part happens to break on their tractor or combine, there is always the welding shop for help and when it comes time to expand the farm they can count on the numerous construction companies to build a quality shop. We are not a huge town and there aren’t many extracurriculars, but we get by just fine.

I love my small town and I have learned to appreciate it even more now that I’ve moved off to college. It is where I played on the playground as a kid, cruised my car as a teenager, and it is the place I’m most thankful for as a somewhat-adult. The town is filled with people who helped raise me and would still help me out today. I can count on the town firefighters and EMTs to keep me safe, the teachers to help the kids in and out of school, and the community to cheer me on. Even though there are thousands of articles praising how amazing their small towns are, I had to share my story because every small town needs to be appreciated.

 

You can also find this post here.