Photos and story by Alaina Staggs/ Contributing Writer
Members of the Middle Tennessee State University’s Block and Bridle chapter held a National Agriculture Day celebration on the lawn of the Stark Agribusiness and Agriscience Center on Thursday in honor of the holiday.
The holiday is formally acknowledged annually across the United States on March 14, but MTSU’s National Ag Day festivities were rescheduled due to inclement weather on campus.
Block and Bridle members provided livestock for the event in order to advocate for the importance of the agricultural industry, as well as the passion that farmers and livestock producers hold for their vocation.
Block and Bridle President and Agriculture student Jessi Schriver was proud to speak on behalf of her B&B chapter at the event. Schriver reported that the organization hoped to bring awareness to agriculture and its importance through this event.
“We’re really here today to answer questions and raise awareness about agriculture,” Schriver stated. “The consumer has so many questions and there’s also a lot … false information out there. It’s important to get facts from people who study it (agriculture) and are most passionate about it because this is what we go to school for.”
The National Block and Bridle Club exists in order to provide college students interested in animal agriculture an outlet to further their professional and personal development. Collegiate chapters are affiliated with the national organization. Their objective, listed on the national website, says they aim to “to promote a higher scholastic standard and a more complete understanding of Animal Science among student members.”
Members of Block and Bridle are also members of a variety of agricultural groups on campus, including Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural sorority, but all majors are welcome to join the organization.
The dean of MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Bud Fischer, was in attendance at the event alongside Department Head Jessica Carter, passing out MTSU milk and informational pamphlets about agriculture in the state of Tennessee.
Allison Parker, a Block and Bridle reporter, commented on the opportunity to engage with the student body.
“Being able to celebrate the farmers and agriculturalists and students who are hoping to pursue a degree in this is really awesome,” Parker said.
Another agriculture major at MTSU, Parker called the event a “real pleasure,” reminding fellow students that agriculturalists provide “over half of our nation’s economy each year.”
Per the Tennessee Farm Bureau, agriculture contributes approximately $74.8 billion annually in revenue. There are approximately 66,600 farms in the Volunteer State spread across an estimated 10 million acres of land. Ninety-eight percent of Tennessee farms are family owned, with 95 percent consisting of small-family operations. The average farm size consists of 162 acres of land.
For more information about Block and Bridle on campus, check out their Instagram page @mtsubandb or visit the SAG Center to learn more.
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