By CINDY LADAGE
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Justin Orme is a senior at Purdue University and a member of Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR), “a social/professional fraternity rooted in agriculture.”
“We have a strong connection to the land. As AGR brothers we all have a common background. We all have either an agriculture upbringing or a major in an agricultural field,” he said.
Phil Josephson, executive director for AGR, explained just what this fraternity can mean to young men: “Alpha Gamma Rho is a social fraternity, but we are also a professional fraternity. That’s something that stands out to our members. AGR brothers share a common bond from the start because of their related career interests in agriculture.
“Throughout life people say, ‘It’s not always what you know, but who you know, that makes a difference.’ Alpha Gamma Rho encourages our members to take advantage of both,” she said.
“We provide our members access to leadership training and career resources, and many of our alumni are key players in the agricultural industry and our government.
“We stress that joining Alpha Gamma Rho is four years and a lifetime, and the involvement of our alumni proves that.”
Orme’s ag connection is that he was raised on a farm. “Both sides of my family farm, and I am actively involved in both operations. Orme Farms is a corn and soybean farm, and the Hodson side does corn and soybeans, but I am actively involved in our purebred Hereford cow/calf herd.”
He is studying agronomy. “I will be returning to Rush County (Ind.) upon graduation. I have recently signed with Channel Seeds as a seedsman for Northern Rush and Fayette counties,” he explained.
This love of agriculture is a family trait, having a father who is an ag teacher and FFA advisor at Rushville Consolidated High School. “He has been an integral part in my development. He does an absolutely outstanding job making a difference in the lives of young people at our high school,” Orme said.
“I have a strong passion for agriculture that was instilled in me by my entire family, in many regards. I have wanted to farm for as long as I can remember; my first word was ‘combine.’”
AGR was a great match for him. “We also develop socially through interaction with other Greeks, community members, as well as each other,” he said. “We actively involve ourselves on campus through philanthropies with other houses, which are geared toward raising money for different foundations or groups.”
One recent project was the Sandy Slam, a Greek-wide philanthropy. Working with local sororities, they host a volleyball tournament and offer food and music, using entry fees to benefit testicular cancer research.
“We also participate in BMOC (Big Man on Campus,),” Orme added, “which is a Greek-wide philanthropy put on by Zeta Tau Alpha (sorority) dedicated to breast cancer research. The entire Greek community comes together and each fraternity puts on a 10-minute skit in front of everyone.
“There are multiple fundraisers and contests for about two months leading up to the big night. There are winners of the skits, as well as the overall winner for money raised.
“As for AGR, it has been an amazing ride for me at Purdue,” he said. “I have served as the recruitment chairman, the risk management chairman and also serve as the house chaplain. We offer so much at the house. We offer free tutors for members, require club involvement to ensure a strong presence on campus, leadership opportunities and the strongest alumni base in the nation.
“AGR has a very, very, very strong alumni presence in agricultural companies. You would be surprised how many there are, and the connections are priceless. I have also enjoyed spending time with 90 men that share similar beliefs, values and interests as me. I really can’t say enough about the impact that AGR has had on my life. I know so many people I never would have otherwise,” Orme enthused.
At next week’s National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, young men may have a chance to learn more about AGR, since it typically recruits there. To become an AGR member, young men must have an ag background or major. The website offers details about the fraternity for those seeking detailed information, at http://alphagammarho.org
(Editors’ note: Justine Orme is the grandson of Farm World Advertising Manager Toni Hodson.)