National Agriculture Week kicks off this week (March 23-30), and it’s the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the importance of agriculture. Make an effort, particularly this week, to spread the positive message about agriculture  in your community. On Friday, I asked friends on Facebook what they have planned for the upcoming week. Here are eight things happening across the country for National Agriculture Week. Please, let us know about any additional events in the comments section below.
1. “Texas A&M Farmers Fight” 2014 Agriculture Advocate Forum
Here is a description of the event: “Come join Farmers Fight at the 2014 Advocate Forum! In order to participate in this week-long event of educating the student body of Texas A&M about agriculture , we need to educate ourselves! Here is your chance to participate in dialogues with highly qualified speakers who are excited about speaking at A&M. You can choose one of the following topics: animal welfare, communications, GMOs and technology, food security and international agriculture .” Thanks to Hannah Miller for the heads up on this very cool event!
2. #AgChat Celebrates International Year of the Family Farmer
Be sure to follow #agchat on Twitter on March 25 from 7-9 pm CST, where the Ag Chat Foundation will celebrate the International Year of the Family Farmer and also discuss National Agriculture Week. Thanks to Jenny Schweigert and Emily Zweber for the reminder.
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3. South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) Little International
Held on March 28-29 in Brookings on SDSU’s campus, this is the largest student-run livestock exhibition in the country. “Little I” holds some of the best memories of my college years. It’s a celebration of the state’s agriculture , complete with livestock competitions, judging contests, entertainment, a dance, and more.
4. SDSU’s Ag Day on April 2
SDSU is also hosting a campus-wide Ag Day on April 2. The event is highlighted by student booths educating about agriculture around campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the evening of April 2, a free meal is offered in the Student Union's Volstorff Ballroom at 5:30 p.m, featuring pulled pork from the SDSU meat lab. After the meal, Michelle Rook will speak about advocating for agriculture  based on industry practices. SDSU students Hilary Risner and Andrea Paulson have been keeping me in the loop with what is going on at campus. Thanks to them!
5. 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Day in Boston, MA
On March 26, agriculture  will once again take center stage at the State House in Boston. Massachusetts Agriculture Day is the one day a year when farmers come together to focus legislative attention on the state’s ag industry. Thanks, Nicole Kerstetter, for sending notice our way. For more information, click here. 
6. Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, SD
Held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center on March 25-27, this event brings dairy farmers and industry  leaders together for a fun and informative day. The expo features a concert by Phil Vassar, an educational forum on the dairy industry, and plenty of networking. Thanks to David Skaggs for the information on this conference!
7. “Levi’s Lost Calf” is headed to schools.
A big thank you to Juanita Reed-Boniface who has read my children’s book, “Levi’s Lost Calf,” to hundreds of students  this winter. This week, she will be reading to 180 pre-schoolers at ISD 15 in St. Francis, MN.
Also, I would like to thank rodeo queen Nikki Boomsma from Mitchell, SD, for including “Levi’s Lost Calf,” in her promotions across the state the last couple of weeks. Both of these women have come up with awesome lesson plans to go with the book, and I love how they are helping bring the rancher’s story to life for these elementary students!
8. Ag Day on the Hill in Nashville, TN
Thanks to Lauren Chase, Janna Sullivan and Charles Hord for letting us know about a gathering happening at the Tennessee Legislature. The event will begin with a legislative cookout on March 24. The “Chew On This Tour,” sponsored by Elanco and NutraBlend, will have the truck and grill there for the meal, feeding the entire 108th General Assembly. On March 25, a milking competition will be held, as well as several displays set up for the lawmakers to learn more about agriculture . There is also a silent auction, and ranchers will have the opportunity to sit in on the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee meeting.
California also held an Ag Day on the Hill last week. Here are the highlights. 
For more information on National Agriculture Week, click here. 
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