100 years of UW-RF agricultureArea News
-- The year is 1912, a year to remember for many Americans.
By: Ashley Hall , Pierce County Herald
The year is 1912, a year to remember for many Americans.
New Mexico and Arizona became the 47 and 48 states; the Girl Scouts USA were founded; the Titanic ship proves it’s builders wrong and sinks; Fenway Park opens and helps contribute to the Red Sox beating the New York Giants in extra innings to become World Series Champions; Joe Dawson wins the second Indianapolis 500-Mile Race; the formation of the Progressive Party elects former President Theodor Roosevelt to run against President William Howard Taft and democratic challenger Thomas Woodrow Wilson; and the Suffragettes parade in New York City towards their right to vote.
In River Falls, Sept. 2, 1912, marked the start of the agriculture program at the River Falls Normal School.
There were 40 students enrolled in the program who worked alongside faculty and staff to organize livestock shows.
The addition of a 300-foot stall shed was built to appease the popularity of the livestock shows.
The shed would have not been possible if faculty and local farmers did not co-sign for the bank loan to build it.
According to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the UW-River Falls website, in 1914 the school started to allocate land for a farm.
Fourteen acres were acquired west of South Hall and there was a small house, stone cellar and two small sheds where Stratton Hall now stands.
At the end of the decade, over 100 acres were bought for the farm.
In 1917, the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act subsidized high schools to offer agriculture instruction.
According to the CAFES website, because of the Smith-Hughes Act, the agriculture program at River Falls boomed.
The River Falls Normal School was already an institution of producing teachers, so with the agriculture program rising in popularity, the State Vocation Board approved the school as an institution to train agricultural teachers.
“The agriculture education program was narrow focused and prepared students to go back to their farms with that education,” James Graham, department chair of agriculture education, said.
UWRF has since continued to grow over the past 100 years.
In honor of the CAFES’ 100 year milestone, a Centennial celebration began in April 2012 to kick off the event.
“We’d like to be recognized as continuing the things we are already doing,” Dale Gallenberg, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science said.
The Centennial celebration is signifying how important CAFES is to the university, Gallenberg said: “It is important to recognize the role of agriculture in this college.”
There are many events that have been held since April and will continue until next April 2013 at the next award banquet.
CAFES always have alumni gatherings and events throughout the year, but because of the significance of this year, there will be even more.
It’s important to CAFES to continue to invite alumni back to campus to see how the college is ever changing, Gallenberg said.
Along with having celebrations and events on campus, CAFES has also involved the city of River Falls.
There was a CAFES Centennial float in the River Falls Days parade this year to promote their 100 years.
“To me it seems obvious on a certain level, an opportunity to further tell our message,” Gallenberg said. “The town has played a significant role in our college and keeping us going.”
One new event to commemorate the CAFES Centennial will be a birthday party for CAFES on Sept. 12.
“I hope that we are making this a celebration that the city is a part of,” said Don Taylor, department chair of plant and earth science at CAFES at UWRF. “Local people, local businesses, local farmers and local farm groups have been supportive of our college and students throughout the years and we hope they continue to in the future.”
With the Centennial mark, Taylor and Gallenberg both predict a greater need from the programs and CAFES in the future. There will also be greater awareness of CAFES and UWRF as a whole, Gallenberg said.
“We hope that there will be higher alumni participation and further engagement with students, alumni and industry in the years to come,” Gallenberg said.
The hope is that enrollment and involvement will be increased at UWRF. The next 100 years is something to look forward to, Taylor said.
“This will help recognize and visualize where the next 100 years is going for our college,” Taylor said.