10-year CAFES tradition honors contributors to agriculture


Samantha Anderson, Reporter

The 10th annual Ag Day is set for April 22, and this year’s theme focuses on being “ag proud” and sustainability in the future.

“We worked really hard as an executive team, and we really want to be able to spread agricultural awareness and agriculture literacy on our campus, as it is something that’s really near and dear to a lot of our hearts,” Ag Day chair Abby Mueller said.

As defined by PREXY Council Vice President Ally Ringeisen, sustainability is “growing crops or raising animals in a way … that leaves (the land) the same, if not better, for future generations.”

This year’s event is geared around sustainability because it is topical in today’s society, and it isn’t something that is going to go away any time soon, Ringeisen said. She thinks the problem does not just lie in a farmer’s absence of using sustainable practices, but also in neglecting to publicize and explain the sustainable practices that they are already using.

The main event for this year’s Ag Day is an industry expert panel presentation addressing the topic of sustainability set to take place in the Student Union’s Volstorff Ballroom East from 6-7:45 p.m.

The panel includes South Dakota residents who have shown promising efforts to conserve and sustain farmland.

Two of the panelists are recipients of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program – Lyle Perman of Lowry, South Dakota, and Brian and Jamie Johnson of Frankfort, South Dakota. Jared Knock of Willow Lake, South Dakota also will be speaking about his involvement in conservation-minded agriculture while working at Millborn Seeds.

Following the panel, there will be a short awards ceremony revealing this year’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Advocate, CAFES Teacher of the Year and CAFES Club of the Year.

As a campus that already embraces agriculture, Ag Day allows SDSU students – especially those in CAFES– to show their passion for agriculture with others on campus and ultimately come together with a common goal of advocating for the agricultural industry.

All CAFES students are asked to wear their Ag Proud T-shirts on Ag Day.

Last year’s Ag Proud T-shirts and this year’s “Sustaining the Future” stickers will be available for CAFES students to pick up Tuesday, April 20, in Berg Ag Hall 156 and in the Animal Science lobby from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., as well as at the Ag Day event Thursday evening.

There will also be tabling in the Union by a variety of CAFES clubs.

“You know I’m really proud of our students for adapting to the current times and making adjustments on the fly … but yet sticking to their values about what events are important to them,” PREXY Council adviser Mary Christensen said.

Ag Day was started 10 years ago to help combat negativity toward agriculture on campus.

The PREXY Council executive team decided to host an event that told a positive story about agriculture and use it as an opportunity to educate the campus community, Christensen said.

Unlike past years where a meal was provided with the main speaking event, this year will look different in order to comply with COVID-19 protocol.

Plans include limiting the in-person capacity at the event to 100 students who will enter on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Those unable to attend the in-person event are encouraged to watch on Zoom.

Ag Day has become a favored tradition and legacy on the SDSU campus, said Christensen, who has watched the tradition unfold. It’s turned into something that those PREXY Council members never realized would happen at the time that they planned the first event.

“Come on out, bring your friends or Zoom in,” Mueller said. “It’s going to be a great event.”