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Wal Mart Stores : ‘That’s through us’

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09/23/2017 | 02:27pm CET

Move over, Aggie Shuttle! Some tractors would like to use Aggie Bull-evard.

That’s exactly what happened Friday, as tractors of all shapes and sizes drove down the main artery of the Utah State University campus to mark the conclusion of College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Week.

Tractor riders represented various entities on campus and members of Cache Valley’s farming community, who honked their horns and threw out candy to jubilant onlookers. A diverse group of people, from USU administrators to toddlers and their parents, lined 700 North on a cold, wet morning to see the towering tractors crawl past them.

Sure, the parade was about having fun, said Garret Folkman, a USU junior and president of the Agricultural Technology Club. But he also believes the event provides a serious takeaway about agriculture.

“This is where your food comes from,” he said. “You don’t get your food at Walmart; it has to get to Walmart somehow, and that’s through us.”

The tractor parade is considered a staple event at USU and was even immortalized this past year on a puzzle created by Provo artist Eric Dowdle.

Royce Hatch, a principal lecturer in CAAS, said the parade began, in part, as a tribute to eight USU students and professor who died in a van crash in 2005. But more than that, he said, USU officials wanted to educate the public about USU’s founding and role in the state.

“We’re a land-grant university, and it amazes me how many people that I talk to lost that vision for what a land-grant university does — it focuses on agriculture,” Hatch said. “So we were trying to come up with a way to really instill the importance of agriculture here at the university.”

USU was established in 1888 to teach practical agriculture and a handful of other subjects, as set forth by the Morrill Act —signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln and named after Vermont politician Justin Morrill — giving land to the states to establish higher education institutions.

Ken White, dean of CAAS, noted some of the changes the parade’s seen over the years are technological.

“We now have tractors with updated technologies that were not around when the parade first began,” he said.

CAAS added “applied sciences” to its name a few years ago to “better depict our academic diversity,” and this has translated into changes for the parade, too, according to White.

The college “now includes aviation technology, and for the past few years, we have also included an airplane in the parade to help represent that diversity,” White said.

Tami Spackman, an academic advisor for CAAS, remembers when the parade first began — not too long after the van crash tragedy that rocked USU.

“It helps me to remember those students,” she said. “It’s becoming more of a tradition now. … We’re celebrating agriculture.”

Spackman, who grew up on a farm, added, laughing, “You always need a tractor in a parade.”

One of the event’s organizers, Reganne Briggs, a USU student majoring in animal, dairy and veterinary sciences, said Friday was the first time she had the opportunity to go; her class was not in the middle of her event.

“I think it’s great for students who don’t necessarily have a background in agriculture to see what really started this college, because it is a land-grant university,” Briggs said. “CAAS Week is a really cool week to showcase how the university started, and the tractor parade is definitely one (event) to end off the week.”

Tractors drive through the USU campus during a Tractor Parade on Friday.

Eli Lucero/Herald Journal

Tractors drive through the USU campus during a Tractor Parade on Friday.

Eli Lucero/Herald Journal

© Copyright, 2017, Cache Valley Publishing LLC, source Newspapers

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