Successful Breakfast on the Farm held in Southern Michigan

More than 1,800 people from 79 towns attended Breakfast on the Farm at the Raymond and Stutzman farm near Morenci in Lenawee County

The second of eight Breakfasts on the Farm (BOTF) for 2011 was held on Saturday, June 25 at the Raymond and Stutzman farm near Morenci in Lenawee County. More than 1,800 people from 79 towns spread across Michigan and Ohio and nine other states were welcomed to the farm and enjoyed perfect weather as they took advantage of the opportunity to learn about modern agriculture and where their food comes from.

Breakfast on the Farm gives consumers and farm neighbors a firsthand look at modern food production and the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome food supply for Michigan communities and the world.

Following a delicious breakfast, the participants began a self-guided tour with stations staffed by farmers and agricultural professionals who work with farmers. The educational stations showed the progression of the beef raising process from calves to harvest ready 1,300 pound steers. From animal wellbeing to nutrition to nutrient management, visitors could hear and view key messages and ask questions. Many were surprised to see how crop byproducts such as corn gluten feed, soy hulls and corn syrup are used in the feed ration, as well as learn how crops are grown and what the soil needs to produce healthy crops and protect the environment. A beef display featuring common retail beef products and information on beef was a popular spot. Did you know that when you compare today’s beef farmers in the U.S. to those from fifty years ago, they produce 1.4 times more beef with 7 million less cattle? This also means that 30% less land and 14% less water is required to produce each pound of beef today than it was in 1960.

Other learning stations highlighted the dairy industry, including a demonstration on how a modern milk machine works, cows and calves. A large farm equipment exhibit helped teach visitors about different aspects of crop production and how farmers use technology every day. The Morenci Fire Department was also on hand to show how firefighters are trained to perform agriculture rescues. Many of the kids completed a Kids Quiz as they toured the farm and learned many fun facts, and then received a prize when they turned in their quiz. Kids and adults of all ages enjoyed the commodity showcase, a wagon of corn to play in, small animal petting area and ice cream sandwiches to top off the visit. Adults were also surveyed to gather information such as whether they had ever visited a working beef farm before, and changes in knowledge. Comments such as: “Thank you so much – today’s kids and adults have no clue as to the dedication/cost needed to be a farmer today. This is a fantastic information day.” and “We were impressed with how well animals are cared for.” and “Excellent way to connect with the community outside of farming.” were very common. Fifty-two percent of those responding indicated that this was their first visit to a beef farm.

More than 200 volunteers from Michigan and Ohio helped to organize and implement this educational and fun event. There were over 65 local sponsors and ten state sponsors who helped to make this program possible. Breakfast on the Farm is a statewide Michigan State University (MSU) Extension program and in 2011 there will be eight farms throughout Michigan that have or will be hosting BOTF events. To learn more visit http://www.breakfastonthefarm.com

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