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.
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.