UW-River Falls' Ag Day on Campus returns for 10-year anniversary

Michelle Stangler
Correspondent
Over 20 student-led organizations offered interactive activities for over 400 students, community members and staff to help learn about agriculture during Ag Day on Campus.

Hundreds of students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls had the opportunity to celebrate agriculture during the annual Ag Day on Campus hosted by the university's Collegiate Farm Bureau.

After COVID-19 prompted the cancelation of the popular event in 2020 and reduced it to a modified format in 2021, organizers were pleased to return to the traditional schedule to help educate the campus community using face to face interactions with speakers, agribusiness representatives and more.

“The hardest part was planning with individuals who had never seen the event,” said UW-River Falls Collegiate Farm Bureau President Serenity Hetke.

Wanting to make the 10th anniversary special, organizers reached out to past event chairs and presidents to hear their thoughts.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the 10 year anniversary event with many Wisconsin and Minnesota agriculture advocates including co-chairs of the event, Michelle Stangler and Barbara Dittrich, and UWRF Collegiate Farm Bureau President Serenity Hetke.

Jacki Moegenburg who served as the first president of Collegiate Farm Bureau, helped to organized the first annual Ag Day on Campus event.

“I remember feeling so much support to start an event like this. The support is strong in the agriculture industry, and it’s an industry you can be proud to belong to” said Moegenburg.

Committee member Bailey Goehring said the event was a success thanks to the many volunteers and students who participated in the event.

“Students who attended, loved the event!” said Goehring. “Many were curious and hesitant in the beginning, as this is the first in-person Ag Day in two years, but once they spoke with a Collegiate Farm Bureau members about what was going on, they were excited to participate.”

Ag Day on Campus celebrated the many areas of agriculture using the expertise of students and companies alike. Over 20 student-led organizations, businesses such as Synergy Cooperative and Value Implement as well as speakers representing many sectors of the industry contributed to the event.

Barbara Dittrich, co-chair of UWRF Ag Day on Campus said the event, which drew in over 400 students, is an important agriculture advocacy event.

"It’s key to share how agriculture is growing for the future. Appropriately, this year’s theme was, “Let the Good Times Grow!” she said.

Students and other agriculture dignitaries and guests were invited to immerse themselves in the agriculture atmosphere on campus which included breaking a geode with Geological Society, finding a connection in agriculture with Agricultural Business and Marketing Society, exploring MagnaWave technology with Equine Physical Therapy Association and many other activities.

Piglets were among the interactive exhibits during Ag Day on Campus at UW River Falls.

The presence of pigs, chicks, alpacas, goats and calves added to the hands-on experience.

Special guests at the event included ag royalty from across western Wisconsin and beyond. On hand were Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs Jackie Rosenbush and 68th Princess Kay of the Milky Way Anna Euerle, both students at UW-River Falls.

“My mission is to educate others about agriculture and this position gives me that opportunity,” Rosenbush said in a press release.

One of the new activities for the celebration event offered a speaker engagement tent with more ways to interact with Wisconsin and Minnesota advocates. One activity was a milk chugging competition.

Joining Rosenbush and Eurele were fellow agriculture advocates Pierce County Wisconsin, Ms. United States Agriculture Greta Weix and Wisconsin FFA State Officers and UW River Falls students Casey Denk and Katie Zimmer who welcomed Ben Styer, State FFA President.

Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes says the event provided an opportunity for students to interact with different areas of agriculture.

“They can see the classes and clubs that are related to agriculture and see their fellow students, people their own age, passionate about something like this,” said Nunes who grew up on a dairy farm and uses her background to share Wisconsin’s agriculture story across the state.

“I think more people should know how hard farmers work and where our food comes from. That’s why I love being an agriculture advocate,” she added.

Students were also treated to a presentation by keynote speaker Kim Bremmer who shared her views on agriculture advocacy during the evening session.

University of Wisconsin-River Falls joined other campuses like UW-Platteville and UW-Madison in offering similar events for students to interact with agriculture. UW-Madison Collegiate Farm Bureau held its event on April 28 on the Library Mall.