Top National Agriculture Official to Visit Colorado State University, Address Graduates

One of the nation’s top agriculture officials will speak at Colorado State University on Saturday as the College of Agricultural Sciences awards degrees to 154 graduating students.

Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a key agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be featured speaker during the college’s commencement ceremony, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center on campus.

NIFA funds research, education and extension programs aimed at improving agriculture and quality of life in the United States and other nations worldwide.

Ramaswamy also will tour a research laboratory, and will meet with graduate students and faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Joining Ramaswamy as a featured speaker during College of Agricultural Sciences commencement will be graduating senior Elisa Sagehorn, of Holyoke, Colo., who is earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. She is among 11 students in the college who are graduating with academic distinction at the end of the fall 2012 semester.

Sagehorn is a testament to the heights students may achieve with focused academic effort and active participation in student groups.

Sagehorn grew up on a small wheat and cattle operation on the state’s Eastern Plains. At CSU, Sagehorn flourished as an articulate young spokeswoman for agriculture and its critical role in people’s lives. Representing a trend of collegiate “agvocacy,” Sagehorn says she has visited the Colorado State Capitol so often that she’s lost count of her visits.

These opportunities have surfaced through her leadership roles with CSU Agricultural Ambassadors, Ag Adventure, Collegiate Farm Bureau and Alpha Tau Alpha. She even was named during her college career as a National Young Farmer Educational Association spokesperson for agriculture.

As Sagehorn wraps up a student-teaching assignment in rural Colorado and looks forward to a new job with Elanco Animal Health, she’s anticipating new ways of spreading agriculture’s message. “Agriculture is such an integral part of our daily lives that it’s often overlooked and taken for granted,” she says, “yet it is incredibly important.”