A big year for the ABAC Deptartment of Agriculture saw enrollment reach 1,000 and popularity continue to rise. Now another club is coming under the agriculture umbrella.
Agronomy, or the study of crop and soil sciences, is a growing segment of agriculture That has reached ABAC with the development of the Agronomy Club.
Wesley Pope, Agronomy Club president, says the club developed around a very important idea.
“The birth of the club started out as a way to prepare the students, so when they get into the agricultural world, they will have a specific certification called Certified Crop Advisor,” Pope said.
A Certified Crop Advisor, or CCA, is described by the American Society of Agronomy as “the benchmarks of professionalism.” The CCA was established in 1992 as a standard for practicing agronomy professionals.
“It’s a bottom-line certification that a majority of your agricultural businesses require their employees to have,” Pope said. “Our goal is that when the student graduates from ABAC, they will have already attained this CCA certification so when they get to their jobs, they’ll already have a leg up in their career field.”
The idea originated from Dr. Ray Smith, professor of Agronomy at ABAC, from outreach from students needing the certification for their employers. Pope says this specialization is what sets their club apart from all the other ag-based clubs on campus.
“You have Ag Business that does the business side of it and Equestrian has the horses, the Cattlemen have their cattle. Agronomy has their crops,” Pope said. “We’re more focused on the crops side, [and]the field production side of agriculture.”
Currently, the club is working to make connections with businesses and organizations such as the Cotton and Peanut Commissions as well as the extension agencies across the state.
“As far as getting the students involved, we’re gonna be able to get them face-to-face with real world agricultural leaders,” Pope said.
The Agronomy Club has already held very successful meetings and is only lacking paperwork before becoming a major club on campus.
“From here on out we’re gonna work on expanding our club bases, we’re gonna work on getting more and more speakers to explain their careers to our members, and to get out more into the community to show that ABAC has an agronomy club,” Pope said, “When I pass through south Georgia 20 years from now and ride by ABAC, I want the agronomy club to be going full force. That’s my goal.”