AG Day on The Hill Helps Bridge The Gap
May 20 – Following its tradition of bringing agriculture to the masses, the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences hosted its annual AG Day on “The Hill” to close out the spring semester. This event brought together community members, students, and local agriculture producers for an opportunity to learn, explore and network.
Formerly known as Ag Field Day, Ag Day on The Hill proved to be a new experience for those who have attended the event in years past. Expanded to encompass two days of activities, the event was held on April 26th and 27th and focused each day for youth and local farmers, respectively. On both days, all activities were held at the various CAHS entities spread across the Prairie View A&M University campus including the Cooperative Extension Program/Carden-Waller Building, Cooperative Agricultural Research Center, Agriculture-Business Multipurpose Building, and the Governor Bill and Vara Daniel Farm. Interim Executive Associate Director of Research Dr. Alfred Parks coordinated and led the planning committee for the entire event. In doing so, he wanted this year to be one that focused on encouraging the youth and bringing the university closer to the community it serves. “We broadened the spectrum this year to include a lot of literacy activities appealing mostly to the younger groups. One of the things we were hoping to do was to spread the word throughout the community so I’m proud of the spirit of participation and cooperation.”
On the first day of the event, the campus was filled with young children who came bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to learn and have fun. Over 500 students from area school districts including Waller ISD and Aldine ISD, engaged in 11 educational workshops that gave them a hands-on learning experience. Theworkshops covered a variety of topics including how to make sausage and butter, using technology in agriculture, making body butter lotions, making kale chips, the importance of medicinal plants, yoga, and even a bull-roping demonstration for the young future cowboys. Endowed Professor of Food Systems Dr. Deland Myers hosted the Food Lab Demo where he shared the importance of food preservation and how that relates to food security. “We talked to the students about the importance of production, and how foods are produced and made available to the consumer. Through technology with food science and other sciences, we have to work to get that food there safely, and also nutritious and high quality. We also talked about some of the technologies that are used to process foods.” With his presentation, he hopes to expose young people to different career opportunities in food production, technology and preservation that they may not have been aware of before.
Local farmers and producers attended seminars on Saturday to help equip them to use their farms more sufficiently to better serve their communities and businesses. They were able to participate in workshops such as bull selection, farmers’ market demo, farm technology, soil health, and the use of robots on raised farm beds. Also featured on the day for producers were presentations from several branches of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) including National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Farm Service Agency (FSA), National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the National Appeals Division (NAD). Producers gained vital information in regards to the 2022 farm census, new spending limits with the farm loan program, and how to appeal a denied loan.
CAHS Dean and Director of Land Grants Gerard D’Souza believes that Ag Day on The Hill was a great success and served its purpose of CAHS becoming more involved with local communities. “This is an opportunity for us to showcase to the community, the Greater Houston area, and to schools from Pre-K to high school the importance of agriculture, where our food comes from, and the connection between agriculture and health. Ultimately, needless to say, we want these students to come Prairie View A&M University for college, and hopefully The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences.” Planning for next year’s Ag Day on The Hill is already happening and the college is looking forward to continue its work of bridging the gap. It was a great success thanks to the many volunteers, faculty, staff, and students who dedicated their time to such an outstanding event.
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444.