Saturday was the 4th annual “Celebrate Ag” Day at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette where the Purdue Boilermakers battled Illinois in their Big Ten opener. Many farmers and ag company representatives were on hand for the celebration.
“Ag and sports have had great partnerships for many, many years,” says Karen Plaut, Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture. “Really, when you look at the state of Indiana and the economy, agriculture contributes so much to what we do. When you even look at the field, it’s turf grass. Turf grass is part of agriculture, and the things we can do together just to elevate the message of how important ag and food is to society. It’s not just about us who are in the field, it’s also about everyone else who eats the products that we produce.”
Natasha Cox, a graduate of the Purdue College of Agriculture and Regional Vice President for Farm Credit Mid-America, says it’s great that Purdue Athletics takes the time to recognize agriculture and Farm Credit Mid-America, one of the sponsors of the event, is proud to play a part.
“When we think about land-grant universities, obviously you land right here in West Lafayette, Indiana. And for Purdue Athletics to set aside a day to celebrate Indiana agriculture, and agriculture in general, shows the importance of agriculture to not only the university, being ranked at the top not only in the country but the world, but the importance to our globe of what our farmer producers and agribusinesses do around the world.”
Plaut says there are many things to celebrate, including students being back on campus this semester. She notes numbers are up across the College of Agriculture and the university, and they’re expanding in other ways too.
“Really, digital agriculture and data science, many of you have heard me talk about that, we continue to expand on that. (Saturday), we had a dedication of the Ag & Biological Engineering building. That’s really exciting. So, we continue to expand. We were lucky enough to receive some of the ‘Purdue Next Moves’ investment, and some of the new areas include digital forestry and food sustainability and market analysis. We are really excited about that. We also have a new innovation center as part of the Ag Research Institute called ‘Digital Innovations in Agrifood Systems’ that we’re really excited about building more entrepreneurs and moving the entrepreneurial activity of the college forward. So, it’s just a great time to be in ag!”
Purdue won the game 13-9 to move to 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play.