Cow moos throughout the Brickyard Monday signified the beginning of Agricultural Awareness Week, put on annually by the Alpha Zeta fraternity.
The purpose of the event is to expose and educate students about agriculture’s role in the world, according to Tommy Batts, senior in horticultural science and head chair of Agricultural Awareness Week.
“There are a lot of people who have never seen a cow,” Batts said. “We want to show people that there is more to food than a grocery store.”
Cory Robbins, senior in animal science, said he agrees agriculture is often out of sight and out of mind for students.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about agriculture,” Robbins said. “Very few people know where their food comes from.”
Sheep, goats, cows, chickens and pigs are on display for viewing, along with a tractor and crop sprayer. There is also a roping dummy for students and curious passers-by to try their hand at the rodeo event.
“Roping dummies are used as tools to improve roping skills or for practicing roping skills when a real horse or steer isn’t available,” April Boggs, sophomore in fisheries and wildlife sciences and treasurer of the Rodeo Club, said.
Inside the information tent, students can speak with representatives from clubs like Future Farmers of America, Poultry Science Club, Rodeo Club and Horticulture Club. Each club will have a display featuring information about their organizations during the week.
Events will be held throughout the week as well. On Monday, Alpha Zeta held an “ag. olympics” where two faculty members, Lynn Worley-Davis and Lori Snyder, participated in competitions like a peddle tractor race and an egg-on-a-spoon race.
Tuesday, there will a milking contest at 11 a.m. between Elizabeth Gardner of WRAL and Joe Reardon, the consumer protection assistant commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Wednesday, an Agricultural Forum will be held in 341 Riddick Hall at 5:00 p.m. The forum will discuss food security and safety and will feature a panel of experts, like Reardon.
The “Kiss the Pig” contest will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Up to that point, students can vote for who they want to kiss the pig by placing a donation in that person’s container. Among the contestants are Andy Walsh, student body president; Dave Doeren, football coach; Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Nancy Thai, president of the CALS Agri-Life Council.
In addition to educating people about agriculture, the event “gives people an opportunity to ask questions to people who have agriculture-related experience,” Lauren Mabry, graduate student in animal science and chancellor of Alpha Zeta, said
Kathleen Wood, senior in animal science, agrees.
“It’s especially important for people who are not agriculture-related majors to visit our exhibits. A lot of people hear about it, but they don’t know what we really do.”
All exhibits will remain in the Brickyard until Thursday at 3:00 p.m.