Sunday, August 26, 2007

AITC executive director does double duty

For Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom executive director Tami Kerr, this weekend was a time of double duty.

Most people probably know her from her involvement with AITC: she has played a key role in the success of the program that helps teach students in Oregon schools about the importance of agriculture. She has helped develop and coordinate resources that teachers can use in the classroom, and along with education program assistant Cathy McClaughry in Corvallis they visit classrooms to teach hands-on learning about agriculture.

They also have been very busy in the last few weeks: each year they coordinate a calendar art contest. They collect entries, arrange to have them judged by AITC board members, and then contact award winners to ensure they attend the Oregon State Fair to be honored for their excellent work.

However, this ends up being an even busier time for Kerr: when she wasn't at the Jackman-Long Building helping with AITC duties and the calendar reception, she could be found in the cow barns. Kerr and her family own and operate the Mistvale Holsteins dairy at Tillamook, and several family members worked together to show Holstein cattle.

While her brother and niece worked in the barn and helped show the cattle, Kerr did most of her work in the barn this year — and had her relatives collect the winning ribbons for all of them to celebrate.

This weekend, their best win was when their four-year-old cow Mistvale Durham Mia won the 2007 Grand Champion Holstein title.

Kerr didn't have much time to celebrate, as she kept busy preparing for the AITC reception Sunday afternoon. After the reception, she hurried back to the barn to help her family get the cows ready to go home. For a few brief moments, she sat down with some of the AITC board members across from the stalls that held the cattle the family so proudly showed at the fair.

As her niece helped sweep straw back into the stall, and her brother finally had a chance to eat a turkey leg before milking time, Kerr pointed out some of the posters and printouts she displayed in the barn stall so people could continue to learn about the cattle they saw during the fair.

There on the wall was the 24x26 Grown in Oregon poster, showing the various counties in the state and some of the commodities they grow — an identical poster had been on stage at the calendar reception.

For Kerr, her love for agriculture — and teaching people about it — never ends.

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