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Graduate Student Wins USDA Essay Contest

on Agriculture's Challenges


Megan Holmes, a master’s student in the Agricultural Education Program at Texas State University, has won an essay contest organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of their student diversity program.

Holmes' essay was written on "The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture Over the Next 5 Years." As a winner of this contest, Holmes is one of 10 graduate students nationwide invited to attend the USDA’s 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., Feb. 20-21.

The USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum provides producers, policymakers, business, government and industry leaders with a unique opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and discuss issues that are at the forefront of America’s agriculture. The USDA's student diversity program is designed to expose students to contemporary agribusiness, future trends, scientific research, and agricultural policy in today's real world environment.

The Newly Completed Outdoor Classroom

Dr. Tina Cade, Professor of Horticulture, writes about the new outdoor classroom...a very special place to teach and learn:

"Prior to construction, the Living Library garden included small sitting areas with patios and tables, but did not include a larger area for classes or bigger groups to gather.  We use the Living Library garden often as our outdoor laboratory space for multiple classes, so it made sense to construct a space in which a whole class could meet.  Additionally, sometimes groups or classes from other departments were meeting in our garden in the big circular area outside the Organic Gardening plots on nice days, so building an alternative gathering spot for larger groups became necessary just so that we could use the garden.

The Environmental Service Committee on campus provided the funds to construct the area.

Most of the Living Library areas are built by students, but because this project required more dirt-moving and load bearing walls, it was hired out to Gardens by Lisa (Lisa Carpenter Prewitt).  An alum, Greg Franks, was also involved in the construction of the area.

We will use the area as a gathering spot for classes with laboratories that meet outside in the Living Library garden, such as the AG 3308 Organinic Gardening class, AGG 3305 Woody Plants class, AG 3302 Herbaceous Plant Materials class, and AG 4304 Landscape Management class.  My hope is that other groups and classes will utilize the space when available."