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Forging Their Way at the Forage and Grassland Council Convention

From left: Kelsey Lainhart and Hannah Carper

On January 16, 2018, two EKU Agriculture students, Kelsey Lainhart and Hannah Carper, shared their knowledge about Agnes Chase, a woman pioneering advances in science and women's suffrage. Kelsey is a senior Agronomy, Soils & Natural Resources major from Berry, Ky., while Hannah is a sophomore in Agribusiness Management from Shelbyville. The students presented their work, “Paradigm Shift in Grassland Sciences: The Life of Agrostologist Agnes Chase”, at the American Forage and Grassland Council Convention in Louisville.

The convention focuses the widespread and varied impacts of forages. Professional presentations and workshops accompanied conversations regarding forages, farming, and the technologies driving rapid changes in farming. Both Kelsey and Hannah attended these events.

Hannah even calls them one of her favorite parts: “There were two parts of my trip that stood out to me. The first was a session I attended about the breakthroughs in Ag technology. Many technological breakthroughs are fascinating and useful to the next generation of farmers. When we think about farming we think of a very labor intensive field, but the reality is that there are many technological advances that make our lives easier.”

The women centered their work and their poster which was displayed at the convention on Agnes Chase because of the profound impact she had on women in agriculture science. Their poster focused on Agnes’s life and how it shifted how science is conducted. They showcased the opportunities she created for herself through her work in agrostology. The girls admired her accomplishments in both science and as a suffragist. She opened up many opportunities for women like Hannah and Kelsey in the fields of agriculture science.

“Our poster focused on Agnes's achievements throughout her life," said Kelsey. "We started with how she got her start in botany by following her botanist nephew, working as a plant illustrator for the USDA, publishing 'The First Book of Grasses', surpassing her mentor, Albert Hitchcock, and remaining the head curator of the Smithsonian’s herbarium in her retirement.”

Both Kelsey and Hannah agreed that the convention was more than just a way to show off their hard work, but was also a great place to network and meet new people in their future field.

“My favorite part of the conference was getting to listen to Greg Petterson, from the Petterson Farm Brothers, as the keynote speaker discuss the importance of positive ag advocacy. It is always great to have the opportunity to meet and network with so many professionals in the field of agriculture,” Kelsey continued.

“The second most interesting part was getting to network and just converse with others involved in the field. I sat down with a vet for Organic Valley, an organic milk company, and we talked about the organic "trend", the aging population of farmers, and what the future of Agriculture looks life. It was great to take a break from classes, connect with people interested in your field, and learn about the current research and breakthroughs in Agriculture,” Hannah said.

Both girls took full advantage of the opportunity given to them to both share their knowledge and to learn more from professionals in the field they hope to be a part of. Associate Professor of Agriculture Dr. Fredrickson complemented the girls on their excellent conference presentation noting that he had received very positive feedback from colleagues as well.

"The man does best that which he likes." ~Alfred Hitchcock (Agnes Chase's mentor and friend)

Hannah continued, "This convention has allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with my field and remember why I love agriculture.  I am thankful to Drs. Fredrickson and Davis for giving me this amazing opportunity.  I truly look forward to what EKU Agriculture holds for me next."

Published on January 25, 2018

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