By Kelsey Keener
Iron County Today
Members Southern Utah University’s Agriculture Club recently returned from an educational, six-day Field Study trip to various cities in Texas.
The Agriculture Club goes on a Field Study trip every year to give students a hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom. This year, the club toured Texas A&M University, Royalty Pecan Farms, a longhorn cattle ranch and museums. In addition, students who participated in the trip visited the largest Black Angus beef producer in Texas, 44 Farms, as well as Arabians Ltd, a horse farm that specializes in breeding and training Egyptian Arabian horses.
Agriculture Club President Jason Copeland said the club took its largest group of students, 18, for the longest amount of time for this year’s trip, and the students were able to learn about aspects of agriculture different from what they see in Utah.
“While in Texas club members were able to visit many successful producers, researchers and leaders and learn about the challenges they face,” he said. “Agriculture in Texas has many different challenges than we experience here in the west. Students were able to learn and understand the different challenges they face, and bring those lessons back to help our own communities with ideas and education to further our production possibilities here at home.”
Copeland also recognized the collaborative efforts that went into making this year’s trip possible.
“We never would have been able to go on this trip were it not for constant support from SUU and its student ambassadors, our local county Conservation District, Farm Bureau and of course the tenacity of and hardworking club members themselves,” he said.
In addition, this trip allowed SUU students to continue efforts to bring more awareness about the agricultural community.
“There has been a strong urgency over the past few years to help farmers, ranchers and producers be better understood in our nation’s public eye,” Copeland said. “Our students, past and present, have and still are making amazing contributions to our nation, states and local communities. They are the future of agriculture and we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Mille Hammond, an SUU student and Agriculture Club member, said this year’s Field Study helped broaden her perspective.
“I loved learning about totally different agriculture operations than I am used to, like the pecan farm we went to,” she said. “Not only that but I was able to learn more about things I was already familiar with, like 44 Farms. I was already familiar with the beef industry, but I saw the things that they did that I really think could benefit the beef industry here in Utah.”
She added that getting to see Texas A&M University’s biotechnology center was very beneficial.
“Biotechnology has always been fascinating to me,” Hammond said. “Being able to see labs and talk with scientists that specialize in this area helped me understand things I had never been able to understand before. Overall, the Texas trip helped me learn things that I would have otherwise probably never learned. I loved it.”