Breakfast on the Farm serves up consumer awareness

Breakfast on the Farm served up more than just a delicious breakfast on September 6, 2014. Visitors enjoyed breakfast before touring a farm filled with volunteers ready to share their knowledge and answer questions.

The Breakfast on the Farm event at Uphaus Farms drew in a crown of 2,400 visitors! Photo credit: Julie Thelen | MSU Extension

The Breakfast on the Farm event at Uphaus Farms drew in a crown of 2,400 visitors! Photo credit: Julie Thelen | MSU Extension

Despite severe weather the evening before, the Breakfast on the Farm event at Uphaus Farm in Manchester, Michigan served 2,400 people on Saturday, September 6. The free event featured a delicious breakfast to start off the morning, but there was much more to the event.

The true story of the farm began when attendees left the breakfast area and head to bio-security to get shoe covers. Once prepared for their farm visit, attendees walked in the well-designed pathway past the finishing barn, where cattle live until they reach their market weight. Signage and volunteers helped guide the way and provided more information about the farm and the products being produced. From there, local veterinarians discussed animal wellbeing. From the discussion of what growth promotants really are to the true size of cattle aspirin, veterinarians answered numerous questions about how they work with farmers every day to keep cattle healthy and comfortable.

The self-guided tour then led attendees to a wagon ride to see the crop production side of the farm, before letting visitors off in front of farm machinery. Uphaus Farm annually works 600 acres of cropland, which equates to about 454 football fields! After viewing the large machinery, the tour wrapped back around the cattle barn, showcasing both the cattle and crops the farm produces. Visitors then entered the dairy display, featuring two cows and calves, and had the opportunity to learn about the increase in milk production and efficiency over the past 60 years.

After learning a little about dairy, it was back to the beef. Uphaus Farms began more than 139 years ago and annually cares for approximately 1,000 head of cattle. Feeding these animals twice a day is an extremely important part of their daily routine so visitors were invited to walk through the feed storage areas and learn more about the products the cattle were fed. The Michigan Beef Industry Commission and Michigan State University Extension educator Jeannine Schweihofer were on hand to discuss the nutritional benefits of eating beef as well as to answer questions about cooking, products and much more.

Children’s activities, meet the family and Michigan 4-H rounded out the second building on the tour, providing visitors with numerous opportunities for education and entertainment. From learning about the life skills taught through 4-H to milking a wooden cow, and playing in the corn box to other games, these stations were always crowded and full of excitement. In addition, the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Michigan Wheat Program and Michigan Pork Producers Association were all on site to showcase their agricultural commodities while answering questions and providing additional resources and images of how production takes place in Michigan.

Visitors then continued onto the beef cow/calf exhibit, nutrient management and sheep shearing demonstration where they learned more from the volunteers and owners who shared their expertise. Along the way, visitors were also able to stop at other displays to learn about agricultural products, technology and businesses making an impact on Washtenaw County.

''Nearing the end of the tour, cattle were seen one more time as visitors viewed the starter barn where cattle make their first stop on the Uphaus Farm once purchased. As the tour neared the end, visitors climbed aboard a semi-truck to learn how animals are transported safely and comfortably from one location to another. The kids quiz, adult survey and ice cream rounded out the self-guided walking tour of the farm.

As the final Breakfast on the Farm for 2014, the event was unique and special. Farmers demonstrated just how adaptable and innovative they are by making adjustments to run the event without power and in very wet field conditions. Thank you to the Uphaus family for opening up their farm; .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and the planning committee for organizing the event; and more than 400 volunteers who made the event possible!

Thinking you may have missed out on a great experience? Stay tuned to the Breakfast on the Farm website for more agricultural education opportunities that will take place in 2015.

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