August 1, 2009

I arrived in Corvallis last Thursday – it was hot, but luckily not humid, and so bearable.

On Saturday, my first exposure to Oregon Agriculture was the Benton County Fair – this was the last evening of the Fair.  This is quintessential Norman Rockwell Americana.

The aroma of the livestock stalls, kids eating warm elephant ears, popcorn, and sweaty people.  I could breathe it all in.  It was nice to speak to some of the kids – Ashley and Vicky with their Angus steers.  I suggested they might consider going to college at OSU.

Benton County Fair

I had a chance to take in the livestock auction.  The staccato voice of the auctioneer was totally mesmerizing. And, the young men/boys strutting around in their jeans with huge belt buckles and shirts with the club logos emblazoned on the breast pocket, showing their hogs.  The hogs averaged about $3.25 – all being purchased for a good cause.  A couple of the young women I discovered will be at OSU for the Fall term. The camaraderie was just so wonderful to see.

Then I walked over to see the rabbits, cavies, poultry, etc.  What was very interesting was the mix of people – including many Hispanics.  I asked one of the Hispanic families what they thought and if they wanted their six-year-old to participate in 4-H – they just smiled and kept going.  I think there is a tremendous opportunity to engage Hispanics in 4-H and other activities.

I ended the evening listening to Johnny Limbo and The Lugnuts – wow , wonderful 60s and 70s music!

A nice introduction to Oregon, indeed.


Sonny Ramaswamy
Dean and Reub Long Professor
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon State University
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