As the sun sets in the afternoon on the Southern Arkansas University farm road, it is breathtaking to take in the beauty of the SAU farm, and all that agriculture truly represents to the university. As SAU emerged from strong beginnings in 1909 as the Third District Agricultural School, it is natural to reflect on the impact that agriculture has had on the institution over the years.
Countless former students reminisce about the experiences that have impacted their lives and careers as a result of being a student in the agriculture department at SAU. These firm foundations have laid the groundwork for a department that has continued to grow and expand over the years.
Complete college experiences include great academic endeavors along with making friendships and memories that last a lifetime. Many of these educational experiences take the students out of the classroom and into the field for hands-on experiences. Often agriculture students are members of the 4-H and FFA and have enjoyed exhibiting livestock at local, state, and national shows.
Muleriders at the Arkansas State Fair
The Arkansas State Fair is an exciting event for such students to exhibit their livestock projects at the state level. For more than 30 years, the SAU agriculture department has volunteered to assist with the ASF market hog show. This has allowed SAU students to learn about volunteer service, network with leaders in agriculture, and share the Mulerider spirit with the exhibitors at the ASF.
This past October, the SAU Alumni Association assisted the ASF in recognizing SAU’s agriculture department’s long history of volunteer service to the market hog show at the ASF. This time was an excellent opportunity for Mulerider agriculture alumni to be recognized at the state level for their years of volunteerism. It was a heart-warming moment as recent program graduates shared their praises for SAU and their SAU instructor, Dr. Copie Moore. Justin Wiedower, SAU alumni with a BS in Agriculture Education (’12) and an MS in Agriculture (’14), is currently an agriculture instructor at Greenbrier High School. Justin was present to take part in the alumni reunion event. He strongly stated, “The SAU agriculture department is a family. He also shared, “After graduating high school, I missed the FFA and agriculture building experience. The SAU agriculture department is as close to that experience as you can get. It is just like the high school FFA family.”
Under the leadership of department chair and Boulware professor Dr. Copie Moore, the SAU Agriculture Department continues to attract large numbers of students from the region. Strong programs of study are offered in agricultural business, agricultural education, and agricultural science, with options in animal science, plant science, and pre-veterinary. The most recent addition to the department involves an agricultural science degree in poultry science. The department not only continues to graduate successful students, they do all of this within a learning environment that also makes the students feel like part of the SAU agriculture family.