National Agriculture Day is upon us, and there’s no better day to discuss the excellent work done by the agriculture department and the students within. For more than a century, the agriculture department at University of Wisconsin-Platteville has pushed students to pursue excellence through innovation and adaptation to the constantly changing field.
In 2018, Dr. Rami Reddy and some of his students put together a business that makes it more convenient for the campus to acquire locally-grown, chemical-free produce. The business, called Pioneer Produce, is completely student run and offers the opportunity to tend the crops in the Pioneer greenhouse as well as giving them hands-on experience with the business-end of agriculture.
Alongside hands-on business ventures, students have access to a plethora of horticultural activities, allowing them real-world experience delving into the challenges faced in agriculture. The Pioneer Farm, known for its blue roofs, is one such experience that allows students to learn outside the classroom. Its state-of-the-art service center, feed center, education pavilion and tech center offer education in all aspects of agriculture. Students can learn in a classroom located at the farm, then walk out to practice what has been taught.
With over 800 students and 18 student organizations on campus, the school of agriculture is an extremely important part of campus life. From fraternities and sororities to clubs promoting the work, students have a wide variety of opportunities to explore the school and find a niche in the department. And with seven majors and over a 95 percent employment rate, students in the program are found by employers to be extremely capable of heading into the workforce.
National Ag day is important because it reminds our campus just how important the work really is. Students and staff in the department conduct research on soil health, crop yield, animal health, the effects of pesticides, and dozens of other things in the hopes of creating the best environment for growing and maintaining healthy crops and animals. And with the population of the world expected to hit nine billion by 2050, agriculture majors today are the first line of defense against starvation. So take a minute or two today, find an agriculture major, and thank them for what they do.