AMES, Iowa— Learning what it takes to manage an Iowa farm is what Iowa State University students took away from the 2013 Agriculture Weekend Experience (AWE) program.
In October, eight College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students spent a weekend in central Iowa getting a new perspective on agriculture. This year’s group included students from China, Austria, Germany and Argentina.
The program is sponsored by the Iowa State Agricultural Endowment and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It was started in 2005 to give students a chance to get a hands-on agricultural learning experience. The program is open to any student who wants additional perspectives and networking opportunities in agriculture.
“It was a great weekend with awesome weather, lots of experiences, good food and the nicest families,” said Bernd Lummer, an agricultural engineering graduate student.
Students toured the facilities at the Lincolnway Energy, LLC ethanol plant and the Couser Cattle feedlot. Both helped students get a hands-on look at how ethanol byproducts are utilized. Students also toured Blood Dairy, LLC to view the technology and coordination for efficient milk production.
The State Center farmers' market was a stop where student were able to taste some rural Iowa flavor. The market included food vendors, produce, crafts sales and a harvest celebration with hayrides, face painting and a pumpkin painting contest.
This year's hosts included Larry and Lynne Pfantz of State Center; Ron and Dona Veren of State Center; and Jeff and Christy Hibbs of Albion. The Pfantz farm showcased its expertise with farmers’ markets and raising produce, sheep, chickens and other livestock. The Veren family had a harvesting demonstration on its corn and soybean farm.
Students who stayed with the Hibbs family visited the Market Off Main in Albion, which is owned by the family. The store sells local foods, including beef produced at the farm. Students also spent time assisting with the cow/calf operation and soybean harvest.
“AWE gave me an insight into farming and what I want to do in the future,” said Skyler Wright, a freshman in agricultural system technologies.
The hosts enjoyed spending time with students.
“We are hopeful for the future of agriculture and believe these smart students will be leaders in agriculture,” Dona Veren said.
Participants in this year’s event included Ashley Beggs, a freshman in animal science from Janesville, Wis.; Ross Collins, a junior in agricultural studies from Pleasantville, Iowa; Alfonsina de Inza Niemeijer, a sophomore in agricultural business from Carro Quemado, Argentina; Chang Liu, a freshman in agronomy from Tianjin, China; Bernd Lummer, a graduate student in agricultural engineering from Oelde, Germany; Ellen Tisdale, a graduate student in genetics from Austin, Texas; Susanne Trittinger, an exchange student from Korneuburg, Austria; and Skyler Wright, a freshman in agricultural system technologies from Donnellson, Iowa.
The Iowa State University Agricultural Endowment, which co-sponsored AWE was founded in 1937. The endowment provides opportunities for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to support the people and infrastructure vital to the future of Iowa agriculture. The endowment provides scholarships to Iowa State students; support for student activities and internships; grants for Iowa State research and demonstration projects and support for other College of Agriculture and Life Science programs that advance agriculture in Iowa.