In Defense of Agriculture

Many people living in the United States credit our country’s origins to politicians; however, upon further consideration of America’s agrarian roots, it cannot be disputed that its true basis and foundation was established from farmers. Within today’s modern, technologically advanced society, the average American is subject to ignorance and apathy towards those who work tirelessly to produce crops and livestock that ultimately benefit us as consumers. When I first arrived at the Virginia Governor’s School for Agriculture, I cannot deny that I shared the same apathetic views towards agriculture as the majority of my fellow American citizens. Nonetheless, after hearing the words, “We are all involved in agriculture,” I truly began to realize its significance in our society. 

Within this program, I have been able to witness firsthand how agricultural farms and pastures utilize their land, soil, crops, and livestock in ways that are efficient, profitable, and environmentally conscious.

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What a Trip!

One thing I think everyone can agree is the best part of Agriculture Governors School: field trips. Obviously, the Chipotle, Walmart, hiking the Cascades, and bowling trips are icing on the cake, but the learning experiences are my favorite!

Visiting the farms was what I was looking forward to most when I applied to governors’ school. One time I was at my friend’s house and he showed me a video of his brother, who’s also one of my role models because of his passion for agriculture, at Virginia Techs beef facility. Watch the video here:

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From the Classroom to the Field

By Asha Rollins

Last week, the Governor’s School for Agriculture students had the opportunity to take several field trips. On Thursday, we traveled to Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm facility. There, my group was able to observe several aspects of plant agriculture. We saw large fields of soybean plants, on which researchers were conducting genetic experiments, agricultural drones, and cows living in a silvopasture system. Then, on Friday, we visited Virginia Tech’s cattle, swine, equine, and sheep centers.  Continue reading

Wind, Water, Sun – Energy For the Long Run

The fundamental theme of my global seminar project is sustainable energy. We are just beginning to trot down the narrow path leading to the much-anticipated end of the research paper. Throughout our research, we have discovered that mass-energy consumption is only expected to escalate and impose a burden upon the environment. Essentially, by utilizing fossil fuels to provide energy, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. In attempts to mitigate the burden from the growing populations’ need for electricity, conversion to sustainable energy sources continues to increase. During the various fieldwork and assorted lectures, it is evident that we need to look to new research, perspectives, and innovations to address the concerns of maintaining sustainable communities.  Continue reading

Did You Know Cows Can Burp? Well, Those Burps Contribute To Climate Change. 

Do you know that cows burp? I didn’t know that. Turns out that cows can.

Burping is part of their digestive process when the bacteria and protozoa in the rumen break down what they have eaten. Said gases include carbon dioxide and methane; the two leading greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. I didn’t know that was a thing until I was in my global seminar group, researching ways to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture. So why is this such a big deal? Continue reading

Cows + Methane = Climate Change

Honestly, going into Governor’s school I believed the agricultural field consisted of farmers, harvesting crops, and taking them to market. Governor’s school has given me many opportunities to explore new ideas and even the outcomes. My Global Seminar project assignment was to discover the ways that agricultural practices can limit greenhouse gas emissions. We soon learned that cows are actually the leading factor of greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural practices. It’s not transportation or fertilizer, but cows. This opened my eyes to the true extent of how everyone is affected by the agricultural field and its outcomes.   Continue reading

Is Governor’s School The Move?

So far in Virginia Tech’s Governor’s School for Agriculture, the 100 students have hit the ground running. In the three full days we have attended, we have sat through hours of lectures, attended communications classes, and been assigned a hefty project to complete with total strangers. My group has been assigned the task of proposing a solution to childhood obesity while focusing on the parental aspect of the problem. Continue reading