The week of September 17 through the 21 was an exciting one all across campus! It was the week of our Ed and Myrtle Lou Swindle Agricultural Complex dedication.
To kick off the week, on Tuesday our students hosted an agriculture industry commodity fair.
This was a chance for students across campus to learn more about the agriculture industry and what makes our ag majors so passionate.
There were different booths and stations that represented different fields. For example, students could visit the horticulture booth which offered a succulent make-and-take. This one seemed to be a huge hit! Thanks to our friends at Britt’s Land Clearing and Lake Wales Lowes for providing the materials we needed.
There was a fresh orange juice stand with delicious Florida orange juice provided by Florida’s Natural. It quenched everyone’s thirst on a hot Florida day. One of our faculty members, Mrs. Kelly Mills brought her daughter, Olivia, by. “Mommy! This juice is so good!! I want more!” We got two thumbs up from Liv for sure.
You could practice your golf game at Quality Turf’s booth, educating students on turf grass management.
Stop by the cattle industry booth to pet a cow/calf pair and see what products we get from beef cattle aside from steak and hamburgers.
You could also practice your whip popping and roping skills.
Another popular booth was brought to us by our bee-keeper student, Ethan Eichar. He even had a bee observation box to watch the bees in their hive!
Colton Elder brought baby goats to cuddle and Erin Jenkins brought chickens to hold!
With just under 100 visitors, its safe to say the commodity fair was a great success!
On Wednesday our agriculture professors hosted an ag expert panel where four gentlemen talked with both our agriculture majors as well as local high school students who attended, about getting involved in production agriculture, how we can educate consumers, internships, resumes, and much more.
Sitting on our panel was Jerry Mixon who was once heavily involved in blueberry production and is now back in the Citrus industry working on a newer project called C.U.P.S (Citrus Under Protective Screens). Larry Black, who is a multi-generational citrus grower here in Polk County that shared his passion for the industry. Cary Lightsey, another multi-generational rancher in Lake Wales and co-owner of Lightsey Cattle Company. Lastly, we had George Darr, brother to our recently retired Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Steven Darr, who has years of experience in row crop production up in Ohio.
Thursday, September 20th was our big day! We kicked off the day with chapel, which was hosted by Maegan Meredith and Anna Conrad. We heard from Senator Denise Grimsley and Professor Justin Sharpless. Then four of our alumni- David Dyer, Kaylee Norris, Timothy Cuellar, and Moriah McCullers sat in on a panel to share their favorite memories and courses that they took here at Warner.
From chapel we moved to the agriculture complex where we heard from President Hoag, Vice-President of Advancement Andrea Thies, Assistant Vice-President Leigh Ann Wynn, Director of Agriculture Studies Scarlett Jackson, and Dr. Doris Gukich, Vice President Emeritus.
Pretty soon the ribbon was cut, the confetti bombs went off, and “Kick the Dust Up” came blaring out of the speakers. As the barn doors rolled open some 600 guests were welcomed inside to begin tours, meeting students, and eating a delicious lunch provided by our awesome campus chef!
Around the complex were small tables with “Stock the Barn” items and thanks to the support from some of our donors, we were able to purchase some of our items needed. There are still a few items we are in need of, such as a welder to expand our Ag Mechanics course projects. If you are interested in finding out ways to stock our barn, contact Scarlett Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the backside of the complex next to the livestock stalls was a mechanical bull that put our cowboys to the ultimate test!
Up from that was good ole’ southern homemade ice cream made from the folks at Everglades Equipment Group!
All in all, we had a fantastic day and enjoyed hosting our fellow classmates, faculty, and donors.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this exciting day, it wouldn’t have been so successful without you!