Monday, December 31, 2007

Agriculture And Natural Resources Week - Not Just for Farmers

Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week) continues to be one of the largest events of its kind in the nation. ANR Week 2008 provides a wide-variety of topics in areas such as agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources, i.e. Quiet Water Symposium, Michigan Wildflower Conference, Growing of Michigan's Organic Future, MSRBA Rabbit Show, Michigan Audubon Society and the 80th state convention of the Michigan FFA.

Foundations for the week were laid by the Farmers' Institute more than a century ago. In 1898, Michigan Agricultural College hosted the first state-wide Farmers' Institute "Round-Up." Agriculture Hall was completed in 1909 and a fourth floor auditorium provided the meeting place. Five years later the round-up combined with farm association meetings to become the first "Farmers' Week."

The topics of interest over 90 years has changed with the times. In the 1960's is was the space age, in the 70's is was science and cybernetics, and the 80's bought forth issues related to world hunger. In 1982, Farmers' Week became Farmers' Week and Natural Resources Days followed by another name change in 1985 to Agriculture and Natural Resources Week. The event now hosts more than 150 programs and annual association meetings.

For 35 of the first 50 years, a moving force behind Farmers' Week was Ralph W. Tenny, director of agricultural short courses. From 1924-1959 he guided the event which drew nation-wide attention. Another Farmers' Week pioneer was R.J. Baldwin, director of MSU's Cooperative Extension Service from 1914 to1948. Dean Ernest L. Anthony also played a stellar role in the first 50 years of history. The animal science building is named in his honor. The trio of MSU "elder Statemen" are but a few of the many leaders who have contributed to the half-century success of Farmers' Week. Thomas Thorburn served as general chairperson from 1978-1988 In 1989, Wilma Miller became the program coordinator for ANR Week and served through 1995. In 1996, Sandi Bauer became the program coordinator until 2007. Megghan Honke is the current program coordinator.

from Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
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