Being an Ag Major

By Mason Larimore

At Murray State University, where I go to school, they offer 10 agriculture majors and feature 8 areas of emphasis. This makes the school of agriculture one of the larger departments on campus. Along with the majority of our classrooms located in the Oakley Applied Science building, we also have resources at Carman Pavilion, the William "Bill" Cherry Agricultural Expo Center, the Arboretum, and 3 farms not far from campus. Being an agriculture student at Murray State University has opened more doors for me than I ever would have imagined. These connections are because of the personal connection you have with your professors and the amount of organizations that are associated with the Hutson School of Agriculture.

There are almost 20 agriculture-based organizations that are associated with the Hutson School of Agriculture, some being major specific.  I think that the push to get involved and be an active member in the school of ag has helped make my college experience what it is today. I currently hold an office in 3 out of the 4 organizations I am involved in (Agriculture Leadership Council -Vice President, Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority -Recruitment/PR Chair, Alpha Zeta Honors Agriculture Fraternity -Chronicler, Collegiate FFA). I have also been a fall orientation leader for the freshmen in the agriculture department. Getting involved as an ag student means more than being a part of an organization, it means helping with annual events. For example, Fall on the Farm, where almost the entire school of ag spends 3-4 days educating local Pre-K kids and the community about agriculture. Or participating in Ag Appreciation week where we bring in speakers and set up booths along the main side walk to educate our non-ag peers about major issues in agriculture! While Murray State has an all majors career fair, the Hutson School of Ag takes it a step further and provides a career fair specifically for agriculture majors. And being an ag major at Murray State has its perks. In the spring semester, clubs and staff recognize outstanding agriculture students at an awards banquet open to the entire school of ag.

My favorite part about being an agriculture major at Murray State is the relationship I have with my professors. All of my professors in the ag department know me by name. I know that if I need my advisor, Dr. Bellah, I can text her and she will respond. If I want to just sit and chat, Dr. Santiago's office is usually open. If I am having a bad day, Dr. Shultz will have some sort of pep talk ready for me. Even outside of the ag office, professors will stop and chat with you when you happen to run into them at a high school FFA banquet or the local Cracker Barrel. I was fortunate enough to find a school that has professors who care about their students and are willing to help out in any possible way they can.

As an ag student, my learning doesn't consist of just sitting in a lecture hall. Over my past 4 semesters, I have had valuable education time in a classroom, out at the farms, in the shop, in different countries, facilitating workshops and even at local elementary and high schools. My learning has not been limited to a traditional classroom. I think that is a benefit for us because our industry is so diverse that not everything can be learned from reading about it. Having the opportunity to go out and experience it for ourselves is better equipping us for all that our industry has to offer. Being an ag student gives you the opportunity to learn and be actively involved in an industry that is necessary for everyone's survival. Unfortunately, it is also constantly criticized by the masses. But I find that I can use my role as an ag student to promote agriculture in a positive light.

No matter where you go to school or what major you choose, it's important to get involved. That has been the key to making the most of my time at Murray State University and that's something you can do anywhere.

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