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Blinn College students continue legacy of community service at Washington County Fair

Tradition was started in 1960s by Blinn's Lawrence Hemann

Tradition was started in 1960s by Blinn's Lawrence Hemann

September 27, 2023

When Lawrence Hemann, a dedicated Instructor and Chair of Blinn College’s Agricultural Sciences Division, first planted the idea of Blinn students volunteering at the Washington County Fair in the 1960s, little did he know that he was sowing the seeds for a tradition that would continue to thrive 60 years later.

This year, Hemann’s legacy continued as more than 60 Blinn students volunteered their time and expertise during 2023 Washington County Fair activities.

“Encouraging our students to be involved in the agriculture industry outside of the classroom is tremendously important to making them well-rounded individuals,” said Bryn Behnke, Assistant Dean for the Department of Agricultural Services.

Community Impact Beyond Measure

Behnke said Blinn students volunteered throughout the summer and fall semester to help fair exhibitors get their projects ready. Several students also volunteered to run a livestream video feed for market shows held at the fairgrounds.

At the steer and heifer show Sept. 2, more than 35 students worked on all aspects of the event, including serving as ring herdsmen, handing out awards, and keeping records. At the Brahman show Sept. 9, five students assisted as ring herdsmen, and 15 students volunteered for the fair’s Ag Mechanics Show on Sept. 17, helping judges as they looked over more than 20 projects.

Ten students assisted with setting up judging rings and putting out shavings for the market barrow, lamb, and goat shows and 60 students volunteered with the fair’s 4-H and FFA livestock judging contests, giving official placings and critiques, and serving as group leaders. More than 500 youths competed in those contests.

“We are blessed to have the Washington County Fair and all of its volunteers to give our students so many of these opportunities,” Behnke said.

Community Gratitude and Support

Earlier this year, the Washington County Fair Association recognized Blinn’s volunteer efforts by donating $25,000 to the Agricultural Sciences Department’s Ag Club. Interest from the gift will be used for club activities, including helping to pay traveling expenses for the department’s highly successful livestock judging teams. An additional $5,000 was gifted by an anonymous donor.

“The Blinn Ag Department is a big supporter of the fair, from their staff being on committees here to them sending students over to help us set up,” said Fair Association President Michael Bentke said. “We have had interns who have come over and worked the fair with us. This is our way of giving back, our way of saying thank you. They’ve been such a huge help to the fair.”

A Thriving Agricultural Sciences Program

Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program is approximately four times the size of any other two-year agricultural program in the state and is based at the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex on the Blinn-Brenham Campus.

Blinn offers Associate of Science in Agriculture and Associate of Science in Agricultural Business degrees that transfer to the state's leading universities, including Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, and Tarleton State. The College also offers a wide range of agricultural extracurriculars, including its nationally recognized livestock judging team, Ag Club, and Ag Mechanics Club.

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