Closing the gap on SDSU’s campus

Brenna Ramsden Columnist

What comes to your mind when you think about agriculture?

Some would say that agriculture means farmers, dirt and cows. Others would say that agriculture means livelihood, food and means to survive. You can probably guess which side of the South Dakota State campus would answer in each way.

SDSU was built some 134 years ago on the Morrill Act as a Land Grant University, and as such, provides education harmonious to this act. The name of the school when it started was actually Dakota Agriculture College.

If SDSU has such a rich history in Agriculture and prides itself on a special focus in agriculture, why is there such a divide?

I’m not saying that SDSU should be all about ag, or that the school has lost its value, but there is an issue here. Almost everyday on Fade, YikYak or Facebook you can find some status or comment about the roping dummy in front of Pierson, the amount of fish caught on Goldsmith or the muddy trucks in the parking lots.

Along with those statuses you can be sure to find negative feedback. Do students not understand the importance of agriculture, or are they just ignorant?

Last week, the SDSU Prexy Council organized a campus-wide Ag Day, in hopes to shed light on the topic of agriculture and the benefits of it on the SDSU campus. It seems as if they were targeting the wrong people.

Booths were set up in Animal Science and Northern Plains Biostress, not places that non-ag majors visit. Ag Olympics were hosted in the Animal Science Arena, a place that most students probably do not even know exist. A speaker was held in the Volstroff Ballroom; however, he talked about how to advocate for agriculture, making the speech geared toward ag kids. It is hard to educate people when you don’t take the information to them.

In today’s society, with the amount of technology and generations removed from the farm, it is much easier for consumers to believe their food comes from the grocery store. Children are being raised today to believe that milk comes from a carton, potatoes come from a box, and lettuce is grown in the store. Can you believe that these kids will be running our country some day?

And these things happen right here on the SDSU campus. What good is an agriculture college if students leave here not understanding agriculture?

I understand that the ag life is not for everyone, but those who live it keep the rest of the world running. I think that it is important for everyone on the SDSU campus to have a general knowledge of agriculture when they graduate.

It’s not that every student needs to take Dr. Clapper’s Livestock Repro class, but students shouldn’t leave this campus thinking brown cows give chocolate milk either.

Brenna is an agricultural communications and advertising and can be reached at [email protected].