Jacelyn Nesmith

Jacelyn Nesmith has 2 articles published.

Old Course, New Credits

April showers bring Mayflowers; springtime brings the gardener out in most people. In the spring, people begin to plant seeds and the flowers begin to bloom with help from the bright sun and a little bit of water. Fancy floral arrangements are often given for Valentines Day, birthdays and anniversaries. Decorations at funerals, weddings and banquets are often thought to be some flowers thrown in water. People do not appreciate the skill of floral design. Creating a memorable and beautiful floral arrangement takes artistic skill, and more people are getting involved in the newly established degree program art of floral design.

The Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Texas Tech University now offers classes to learn how to properly arrange floral arrangement as a specialization. Institutions including Texas Tech, are seeing the demand for the art of floral design. The Department of Plant and Soil Sciences has offered floral design classes for years but recently began offering the course as an art credit. Ed Plowman, an instructor at Texas Tech, teaches the floral design and horticulture courses.
Plowman applied his education from Texas Tech and is now known for influencing the growth of the horticulture and floral design program. His eye for detail in plants and flowers, as well as his passion to educate students, is evident in his teaching. He said he has watched the enrollment of students double throughout his career teaching at Texas Tech.

“Mr. Plowman’s class was challenging,” said Chad Brooks, a former student of Plowman. “But I learned so much from him. I would highly recommend anyone take one of his classes.”

The Number Rise

The rumors the plant and soil science department would offer floral design as a specialization credit traveled to different colleges across campus. From there enrollment numbers quadrupled. Before floral design was offered as a specialization credit there were 20 students enrolled each spring semester to 80 students enrolled in the spring semester and 80 students enrolled in the fall semester. Students began to get involved in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and many students from different backgrounds have changed their majors to plant and soil sciences as a result of the course.

“We are using this as a recruitment tool to get students interested in coming over to agriculture,” Plowman said.

Plowman Expands His Knowledge Outside of the University

In the last year, Plowman was part of the FFA Floral Design Career Development Events in San Antonio where 300 high school students participated in the contest for the first time since its inception. In 2018 the contest will be offering $10,000 in scholarships, and they are expecting the number of students competing to double, said Plowman.

In March 2018 The Department of Plant and Soil Science hosted the FFA-CDE Floriculture contest at the Horticulture Greenhouse Plowman said. There were 80 students who attended the contest.

Students classroom knowledge and skills are used to identify and evaluate cut flowers. Houseplants and flowering plants are also evaluated through an exam. The state winning teams advance and compete at the National FFA Convention.

Roses are condsidered the focal point in an arragement.
Roses are considered the focal point in an arrangement.

The Petals Get Put to Work

To be successful in the floral design class, one must be able to interpret art, such as music and express their interpretation through flowers. During the lab portion of the course, students are required to complete an interpretation project and showcase the topic through an arrangement as a final project. The completed projects are ranked from one to ten and the top three projects are given the opportunity to compete at a higher level.

“I’ve gotten to work with flowers every week and most of the time I’ve gotten to take home what I made that day,” said Allison Reid, a junior Texas Tech agricultural communications major. “So that’s been pretty cool.”

Floral Design Services is a program offered through the plant and soil science department, giving students the opportunity to design floral arrangements for events around campus and Lubbock. Floral arrangements are designed by students involved in this program and are used as decorations at events across the Texas Tech campus. The department considers this program to be an honor for students to be a part of.

Students enrolled in the floral design course are given the opportunity to submit photos to be highlighted on the courses Facebook page, Texas Tech Floral Design 2310, for parents and peers to view their accomplishments. These arrangements are made in lab, which is a portion of the student’s grade for the floral design course.

Throughout the semester, different cultures are discussed including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Renaissances, and Flemish. Each culture module consists of learning the history of each culture. In lab, students are required to create floral arrangements to represent the culture and history of the different countries in different time periods. This gives students an extensive background in floral design.

“As much information as the students learn in the course, they can almost walk away being certified to teach the course,” said Plowman.

Floral design is a great course for agricultural education students to take as undergraduate students, as many of them will be required to teach floral design when they begin their career as agriculture education teachers. The information given throughout this course can lend a helping hand in not only teaching floral design but also coaching students to be successful in the FFA floral design CDE.

Finding a Place in the Department

Offering floral design as an art elective has increased enrollment in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. It has helped get students across campus to get involved enrolled in courses and organizations within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. With floral design offered as an art credit, students have been given the opportunity to learn about floral arrangements and the art behind it whether they grew up around agriculture or not.

“Overall I just really enjoy getting to work with fresh flowers every week,” Reid said.

The department anticipates the program to continue to grow and offer more than one course each semester. The course is available as an art credit. Through the department, students have the opportunity for their friends, peers, and family to see their work around campus and Lubbock.

Floral design is an art.

As the petals on the flowers fall, the artistic skills learned in floral design will not fade. These skills can be used to teach others floral design skills, make professional arrangements or just create flower bouquets for themselves or friends.

“Floral design is an art,” Plowman said. “Now, it is becoming more and more recognized as an art.”

4 Advantages of the New Round Bale Cotton Picker

Living in West Texas, cotton fields are a common sight to the population. When you drive down the highway during the spring the sight of empty cotton fields, which often look like dirt, is common. If you were to drive down the same highway in the fall, they would see tall green stalks with cotton bolls beginning to sprout from the branches. During cotton harvest season there will often be big green tractors driving up and down the cotton rows picking, harvesting and baling the cotton. Over the past few years in West Texas you might have noticed a round cotton module as well as a square cotton module.

Cotton is ready to harvest when the bolls sprout of the stalks. Photograph taken by: Maclaine Shults

John Deere is claiming the new round bale cotton pickers to be the biggest revolution in cotton harvesting and handling since the module builder was invented. The traditional cotton picker only picks the cotton bolls off of the plant. Once the cotton boll is stripped from the plants a boll buggy follows behind the picker, and receives two dumps loads full of cotton to carry to the module builder. The cotton is dumped into the module builder, which compresses the module leaving the module in the field until the module trucks comes to pick it up to deliver the module to the gin. The round bale cotton picker eliminates the boll buggy, the module builder and two tractors as it has the ability to do all of these steps in one, and is a non-stop harvesting process.

The new round bale picker picks the cotton, forms the cotton in a round bale and automatically wraps the bale in yellow wrapping. The $600,000 round bale cotton picker may be gut-wrenching to some farmers, but the new invention has four major advantages.

1. More efficient cotton harvesting

The round bale cotton picker picks up the cotton, forms a round bale and then automatically wraps the bale in Tama RMW. Tama RMW is a plastic coating wrapped around a round bale to provide protection. The picker has the ability to carry the bale, similar to a hay bale carrier, from one place to another continuing to pick cotton with the sensors on the picker. The traditional cotton picker can pick the cotton bolls off of 6 rows of plants at one time; however, the new picker picks the cotton bolls picking 30 inches to 48 inches at a time. This means the farmer picks more cotton at one time. One round bale holds 3.8 bales of cotton lint in a single bale.

2. Savings in labor and equipment

The new picker not only eliminates 4 pieces of machinery, the farmer saves money not only the pieces of equipment, but also saves money on fuel and labor costs. Eliminating the boll buggy, module builder and two tractors also eliminates having to pay five to six employees to run these machines during harvest. Their labor force is cut in half, as they only have to pay someone to operate the picker.

3. Weather resistance

The Tama RMW is made with an inner and outer layer of plastic wrapping for the round bale. The two layers help to ensure the bale is protected through tough weather conditions to maintain the quality of cotton. In windy conditions the structure maximizes the durability of the round bale and keeps it from breaking apart and losing cotton. This will also help the bale hold its uniformity during transportation and processing.

Round Bales
Yellow wrapping that farmers use to protect the cotton. Photo credit: Google Images

4. Ginning

Once the cotton is formed in to a round bale, a module truck will come to the farm and collect the bale from the field. From here the truck driver will deliver the bale to a gin for processing. The truck fits four round bales as oppose, to two square bales. Once the modules are dropped off at the gin, they typically sit in the gins module yard and are processed in the order they were delivered.

The development of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States. The gin cut down on labor costs to harvest cotton tremendously. In order for the gin to continue to run efficiently they must adapt to the new inventions throughout time.The round bales allow the gin to store more bales at once without the yard getting full.While storing more bales of cotton at the gin is important, the gin appreciates that the round bales hold less moisture then a traditional module. In a traditional square module the moisture content is 10 percent to 18 percent; however in the round bales the moisture content is 6 percent to 8 percent. The majority of the moisture must be dried out of the cotton before it can be ginned and sold.

The new round bale cotton picker might be heavy on the checkbook, running around $600,000 each, but the advantages outweigh the cost of the machine. More farmers are adopting this new innovation because they have seen an increase in productivity and a decreasing amount of labor required to harvest cotton. As the population continues to increase across the world, there is a higher demand for cotton and products made from cotton such as clothes, sheets and many other necessities. Technology such as this will help meet that demand.

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