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Ag Corner

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The 4-H pledge goes, "I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world."

A number of individuals have done just that throughout history and have contributed much to the agricultural world.

In February, we celebrate National African American History Month.

Thomas Monroe Campbell, an African American, was a Field Agent for the Untied States Department of Agriculture before being appointed Farm Demonstration Agent in Alabama in 1906.

Over time, he advanced to State Agent in Alabama and then onto Field Agent for seven southern states.

As a result of his work, there are now nearly 600 county and home demonstration agents in those seven southern states.

Some credit him as the first Cooperative Extension Agent in the United States.

March holds the honor of having two month long celebrations devoted toward history.

These are: National Women's History Month and National Irish-American Heritage Month.

Mary Agnes Meara Chase, a female botanist, was an illustrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant Industry.

During her work at the bureau, she made great contributions to the study of grasses. She collected more than 4,500 specimens from Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States and donated her collections to the Smithsonian and the National Herbarium.

Harry Ferguson, an Irishman, invented one of the first tractors.

His interest in tractors grew during World War I, when he was working in a mechanics workshop.

Later on, he developed the Ferguson tractor that was built by Ford and marketed by Ferguson as agreed upon by the legendary "Handshake Agreement."

May is National Asian/Pacific Heritage Month.

Virgil Duyungan, a Filipino Alaskan, was the president of the Filipino Cannery Worker's and Farm Laborer's Union (CWFLU) during the early 1930s.

The main goals of the CWFLU were to rid the salmon canning industry of the exploitive labor contracting system and to improve working and living conditions at the canneries.

Though Duyungan's presidency was short-lived, the CWFLU was able to leave its mark on the Northwest labor movement.

September is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Cesar Chavez' family (he is a second generation American of Hispanic descent) became migrant farm workers after they lost their farm during the Great Depression.

This experience is what helped him develop the dream of creating an organization to protect and serve farm workers.

He founded the National Farm Workers Association, which is now the United Farm Workers of America.

National American Indian Heritage Month is in November.

No one questions the impact that American Indians have had in agricultural fields ranging form introducing the "Three Sisters," to introducing colonists to edible plants.

The Intertribal Agricultural Council (IAC) was founded in 1987 to pursue and promote the conservation, development and use of our agricultural resources for the betterment of Native American and Alaskan Tribes.

The IAC has become recognized as the most respected voice within the Indian community and government circles on agricultural policies and programs in Indian country.

Year round, many individuals have greatly contributed to agriculture.

Therefore, I suggest that as you shop, work, eat or watch TV, think about those throughout history who have given of them selves and practiced the 4-H pledge while making a difference in the agricultural world.

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