When you hear the word ‘nursery,’ one thing comes to mind, babies. While the word baby is associated with the NW Nursery presented by Murdoch’s, that is not its only purpose. To those closely involved with the NW Nursery, one word gives a much clearer depiction of what it is: advocacy. For those who work at the National Western, the Colorado FFA State Officers, and the Bennett FFA Chapter, who runs the nursery, the NW Nursery is a living, breathing education and advocacy tool that gives those removed from the ranch a glimpse into the world of agriculture.
A former FFA State Officer and National Western Stock Show education intern from Bennett Colorado, Heather Levy, describes the nursery as a bridge between rural outlook and urban understanding. Working at the NW Nursery for seven years, Heather is very passionate about the nursery and the valuable role it plays in sharing and educating those not directly involved in the agriculture industry. She believes that the nursery is more critical now than ever before. “With most of the guests coming from urban communities, people are not familiar with agriculture. Many only acknowledge that their food comes from the grocery store,” said Heather. ” It’s important to remind folks that food comes from biological things and share how the production process works,” said Levy.
This is the mission of the NW Nursery exhibit and that of the State FFA Officers and Bennett FFA Members. Each day, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., the FFA watch over and care for the baby animals and the moms that delivered them. These representatives of ag happily answer questions from stock show guests of all ages. While some people may think their questions are silly, FFA representatives respond with enthusiasm and without judgment. “To me, there is no such thing as a foolish question,” said Montana Goodman, State FFA President. “I love it when people ask me questions because it allows me to educate them, usually on a subject that can be misinterpreted,” said Goodman.
The NW Nursery is a unique experience that allows people who have a vast knowledge of the agriculture industry to have good conversations with members of the general public. “People leave more educated and with a newfound respect for the ag industry and those that fuel it. “The NW Nursery gives people a tangible educational experience that they can take with them throughout life.” said Brittaney Hudson, Agriculture Education Instructor, Bennett High School. “The nursery is a trademark of National Western, for me, and Bennett FFA. It’s always there, and there’s always someone to talk to about it. Whether it’s asking what the babies’ names are or asking about more controversial topics in ag, there’s someone here who is knowledgeable and passionate about sharing with people.” said Tyler Lynnes, Bennett FFA Member.
There is no doubt that the NW Nursery has impacted the outreach of ag education at the National Western Stock Show. And for those FFA students and representatives, it is a special place to come together, sharing knowledge and the passion for ag. Not to mention seeing the wonder and smiles from the guest and the countless memories and connections that come along are unforgettable.
Blog by Kendal Powell, 2022 Marketing & Media Intern
About the Author:
Kendal Powell is a junior at West Texas A&M University pursuing a degree in Agriculture Media and Communications. At West Texas A&M, she is involved in Collegiate Farm Bureau, FFA, and Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow. After graduation, she hopes to start her own herd of beef cattle while also following her passions with photography and videography. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and doing anything with people. Stock Show runs deep in her veins, as she has sought out this internship since the seventh grade, and participated in the Catch-A-Calf program here in 2015.