Ag Travel Course: Stateside

A version of the “Ag Travel Course” also took students to farms and agricultural sites throughout the U.S.

Terry McClain (’78 agricultural business) participated in such a 1975 trip through the Eastern U.S. and recently shared a letter about his experience.

“My name is Terry McClain. I graduated with a B.S. in agricultural business in February 1978. As an undergrad, I participated in the 1975 ISU Ag Travel Course.

There were 32 students and two professors, Dr. Brent Pierce from Agronomy and Dr. Marshall Jurgens from Animal Science, who went on the course around the eastern two-thirds of the U.S.

We stopped three to four times a day to see agriculture and ag-related industries, assisted by extension agents in the 19 different states we visited. We stayed in motels during the six weeks, except for two nights in Louisiana. During those two nights, each student was assigned a host family to stay with. I was blessed to stay with the Robert Judice, Jr. family. He is a third generation sugar cane farmer.

Judice Family in 1975

Since that time, Bobby’s and my families have stayed in touch and visited each other’s homes and farms on numerous occasions. We talk often and established a very strong bond together. I’ve looked at my 88-page typewritten report for the course, and found this entry about my stay with Bobby, Carolyn and family: “It is hard to describe a lot of the good hospitality, good food, and conversation which made this host farm visit so excellent. I learned not only about the agriculture, but also about the people – in this case, the Cajuns. I rate this the most excellent stop of all on the whole trip.”

Also in my report, I found that the Ag Travel Course started in 1934. Our trip in 1975 was a 36-day trip which covered 19 states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa. The course had a total cost of $600, and I received 8 credits for it. It was easily the best experience I had while at ISU.

The best part of the trip was my visit with Bobby and Carolyn Judice and their family. We developed a friendship that will never end. We have visited them many times and they have visited us many times in the past 35 years. For example: My first wife, Pam, and I spent some time with them on our honeymoon in 1982. Bobby and Carolyn came to visit in the winter of 1984-85, played in our snow, and Bobby gave our infant daughter Ashley a bath in the kitchen sink. Pam passed away in 2005, and Carolyn came to the funeral. Carolyn also came to Ashley’s wedding, and visited shortly after my wedding to Gladys in 2006. We talk several times/year and I count our friendship as one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Terry McClain (’78 agricultural business), center, poses with his hosts Carolynn and Bobby Judice from the 1975 trip through the Eastern U.S.

Sincerely yours,

Terry McClain

Carson, Iowa