Host farm applications available for 2014 Breakfast on the Farm Programs

Five Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) events were held throughout Michigan in 2013 and attracted more than 12,680 visitors. Now is the time for interested farm families to apply to host a 2014 event.

Since the inaugural Michigan State University Extension Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) program was held in 2009 at Dutch Meadows Dairy in St. Johns, more than 53,550 visitors and volunteers have participated in the 26 programs held throughout Michigan. Twenty-two of the host farms have been dairy farms, two were beef farms, one was a crop farm and one was an apple operation.

BOTF is a program run by MSU Extension that is guided by a statewide advisory council and the events are made possible through local partners, generous statewide and local sponsors and many local volunteers. Host farms are selected by the advisory council through an application process. In an effort to reach consumers throughout Michigan, the council strives to have events in diverse geographic areas. Extension staff will offer guidance from the early planning stages to the day of the event.

Breakfast on the Farm showcases a selection of Michigan farms and introduces the non-farm public to the life and business of modern agriculture through a fun and educational event that emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship, food safety and good animal care practices. The educational farm tours provide the public an opportunity to see modern, non-commercial farm operations first-hand.

“Breakfast on the Farm puts a face of the producer on the products that consumers buy at the grocery store; a face that builds producer/consumer trust,” Hank Choate from Choate Belly Acres, a host farm in 2012, said. “As producers we need to continue to do all that we can to further build that consumer trust, because if we lose their trust there is nothing (higher production or other production efficiencies) that we can do on our farms that will make up for that loss. It is rewarding to work at BOTF. When I tell my story of how we care for our cows so they produce milk for them, the consumer, and then the consumer replies ‘that just makes common sense’, I know we have accomplished our goal.”

Surveys from the past events show that approximately 45 percent of attendees have not visited a modern farm in 20 years or more. This educational program has helped to provide information and experiences for thousands of participants who have changed their attitudes about modern food production as a result of attending a BOTF.

Information on past events is available on the BOTF website. The application and a checklist to guide interested host farms are located under “Contact Us!” If you would like your farm to be considered for a 2014 event, please complete the application and submit it to your local MSU Extension educator for approval and submission to the program organizers by Dec. 4, 2013. The advisory council will review all applications and notify applicants in Dec. or Jan. of farms selected for a 2014 event.

If you have specific questions or would like additional information contact BOTF program organizers Ashley Kuschel at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 586-469-7616 or Nancy Thelen at 734-222-3825 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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