Ag Alumni-The Early Years
Though records are scanty, tradition has it that the first meeting of Agricultural Alumni occurred in 1895. Tradition further has it that the nine graduates of the class of 1901 organized and started an annual get-together of Purdue college and short-course graduates. Records also indicate that in the early 1920's, the meeting of Ag Alumni during the annual state fair had become an ongoing custom.
Of course, most agricultural graduates in these early years returned to operate farms in their home communities. These individuals became a natural ally of the county agents and the early extension activities of the university. The first experimental work dealt with how to improve agronomic and livestock production practices. These findings were carried out to farmers throughout the state through the operation of "institutes" of two or three day's length. Farmers, who were Purdue Ag Alumni, played an important note in getting attendance at these early meetings. Additionally, the early 1900's saw the birth of multiple organizations dealing with all facets of the farming operation. Here again, Ag Alumni provided key leadership roles.
During these years, many different clubs were organized to encourage and reward outstanding production practices. By the early thirties, these awards and clubs included the 100 Bushel Corn Club, Ten Letter Club, Gold Metal Clubs for sheep, calf, and colt, special production clubs for eggs, potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes and a meritorious Dairy Herd and Dairy Sire Award. Again, Ag degree and short course graduates were prime organizers of these activities