K-State's Wheat State Agronomy Club hosts regional meeting
More than 230 college students from across the country were treated to a first-hand look at Kansas agriculture during the Students in Agronomy, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (SASES) 2009 regional meeting. Kansas State University's Wheat State Agronomy Club hosted the meeting on April 3 and 4. Fifteen schools were represented, from Virginia Tech to Purdue to Colorado State.
"This event was a great way to showcase Kansas agriculture to future leaders in the agricultural industry," said Matt Wyckoff, Wheat State Agronomy Club president. The club organized the meeting activities, which included a career fair, barbeque, guest speaker and four tours of agricultural facilities throughout the east and central parts of the state.
Through the tours and activities, students were able to network with professionals and other students while broadening their Kansas agriculture experience.
"Whether students came from the heart of the Corn Belt or from the fruit orchards of Florida, they were all able to get a personal experience of Midwest agriculture by participating in the tours," said Samantha Ambrose, the National SASES Corresponding Secretary from Purdue University. Ambrose came with seven others from Purdue. She said she had a great time making friends and learning in a new agricultural atmosphere.
The weekend started with a tour of the Konza Prairie on April 3, followed by a career fair with 40 industry representatives in attendance. April 3 night, a barbeque preceded a presentation titled "Opportunities in Agriculture, the Challenges, and Telling Our Story with Their Rules" by Kyle Bauer from KFRM radio.
The tours started April 4. The northeast Kansas tour included trips to Rezac Land and Livestock, Jeffrey Energy Center, and the K-State Grain Science Flour Mill Facility. The north central tour took students to AgriPro Wheat Research Inc., Ke-Ot Farms and the Willow Creek Dairy. Tour three went through central Kansas to Knopf Farms, Veris Technologies Inc., Phillips Seed Co., and Russell Stover Candy. The last tour, focusing on the Flint Hills, traveled to JB Pearl Sales and Service, Mission Valley Ranch and the Tallgrass Brewing Company.
Educational opportunities on the tours included crop, livestock and dairy production, flour milling technology, wheat breeding, soil variability sensing technology, hybrid seed sales, prairie ecosystem management and fertilizer and pesticide applications, as well as interesting exposures to different industries in Kansas.
"I enjoyed the tours the most out of all of the meeting's activities," said Michael Macek, WSAC treasurer. Macek did much of the work coordinating the tours. "The tours were a huge success. The producers we visited all shared great knowledge and advice. Also, we wanted the industry stops on the tours to give the visiting SASES members a feel for the contribution our state and region offers to business and industry," he said.
At the end of the day on April 4, dinner was followed by a private performance by Nashville recording artist Dustin Evans and Good Times at R.C. McGraws.
"Everyone seemed to have a great time," Wyckoff said. "We tried very hard to plan an event that was educational and fun."
SASES is a professional undergraduate development organization with focus areas in agronomy, soils, crops and environmental sciences.
The WSAC would like to thank the sponsors who helped make the weekend a success. Major sponsors included Syngenta Seed, AgCareers.com, Mid Kansas Co-op, Crop Production Services, Helena Chemical Company, Team Marketing Alliance, CHS Inc., Monsanto Company and the Kansas Corn Commission. In addition, 52 industry friends and families helped support the regional meeting. Without their generous support, the event would not have been possible.