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Blinn Ag Club students volunteer more than 1,100 hours at Washington County Fair

More than 80 Blinn students have volunteered at the fair in each of the past seven years

October 1, 2014

Blinn Ag studentsThe Blinn College Ag Club dedicated approximately 1,100 hours to helping the 146th Washington County Fair go off without a hitch this year.

More than 85 students combined to provide support for the 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) livestock judging contest, the agricultural mechanics show, the open steer and heifer show and this year’s new addition, Special Edition: Champion Drive, a livestock show for special needs fair participants.

At least 80 Blinn students have volunteered at Washington County Fair each of the past seven years.

“Our mentality has always been about getting kids out of the classroom and giving them real-life experience,” said Bryn Behnke, assistant dean for the Division of Business, Agriculture & Kinesiology. “We love volunteering. We want the fair to succeed, and the experience our students receive there provides us teaching moments that tie back to what we’ve been talking about in the classroom.”

The 4-H/FFA contest is one of the largest in the state, attracting 1,100-1,200 students each year. As one of the first contests of the year, it gives ag teachers the opportunity to evaluate their students and build a foundation for the rest of the judging season. This year approximately 45 Blinn students manage the steer and heifer shows at the same time, helping participants complete paperwork, directing people to the correct location, serving as ring herdsmen and even performing announcing duties.

Approximately 18 students volunteered with the ag mechanics show.

Dr. Kyle Merten, alumni relations director and formerly an extension specialist with the state 4-H office in College Station, helped organize the Special Edition: Champion drive event at this year’s fair. About 30 children participated.

“It was an awesome turnout,” Behnke said. “In the next year or two I would expect that will be one of the biggest things the fair does – that’s the kind of response we got, and I’m glad our kids got to be a part of it.”

Last year, Blinn’s Ag Club totaled about 3,700 hours of community service at 127 events. The club partnered with organizations such as 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Coastal Conservation Association of Texas and Texas Parks & Wildlife in organizing and staffing events, and also volunteered at livestock shows, ag mechanics shows and county fairs.

Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program is one of the best in the nation and enrolls almost 800 students – making it roughly four times the size of any other two-year agricultural program in the state. Blinn offers agriculture classes on all its campuses, with the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex in Brenham serving as the program’s hub.

In addition to its excellence in the classroom, Blinn offers extracurricular educational activities in the areas of livestock judging, agriculture club, wildlife, agriculture mechanics, horticulture and agriculture sciences. For more information on Blinn’s Ag Sciences Program, visit: www.blinn.edu/agriculture.

About Blinn College
Founded in 1883, Blinn is a comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement. With an enrollment of 19,317 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for its affordable educational excellence.

As part of its commitment to student success, Blinn is implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan titled “Destination Success: First-Year Focus,” which utilizes learning communities to support first-year college students.

For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.