Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Party animals on Parker Field: Agriculture Department hosts petting zoo

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
President of Collegiate Farm Bureau Payton Ruddy and her horse, Rocky. Rocky is a 22-year-old National Show Horse breed and is a retired show horse in the Arabian industry.
Photo by Josh Seabaugh

The agriculture department of Southeast hosted their first petting zoo March 4, filling Parker Field with a small group of farm animals, including a lamb, cow, donkey and horse.

Robert McAlister is an instructor in the Department of Agriculture and a member of the collegiate farm bureau. McAlister was there to answer questions from attendees and generate interest in agriculture.

“This was put on by the Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter in conjunction with the Missouri Farmer Bureau. They have designated this week to celebrate “Thank a Farmer” week,” McAlister said.

The agriculture department planned this event by renting animals or bringing in their own. Payton Ruddy, president of Collegiate Farm Bureau, suggested any students who want to go into agriculture simply try it out.

“There is more to the agriculture department than people realize,” Ruddy said. “We are the No. 1 employer. You can learn communication, you can learn about animals, you can learn about plants, and there is so much you can do in the agriculture industry.”

Students gathered to watch and interact with the animals under the guidance of the trainers to keep the animals calm. Alexis Weidenbenner, an elementary education sophomore, said the event was a great idea, specifically as stress relief towards students who love animals.

“I think it’s a great thing for students to have a break and just be able to have that sort of stress relief after classes,” Weidenbenner said. “Having an animal to hug and love on is just great.”

To stay up-to-date on more news from Southeast’s Agriculture Department, visit their Facebook page, SEMO Department of Agriculture.