Tag Archives: botf

Breakfast on the Farm presents an opportunity for collaboration and outreach

Since 2009, Michigan State University Extension has reached more than 61,000 children and adults through the summer program Breakfast on the Farm. Farms across the state have worked with our staff members to open their doors and serve thousands of visitors a delicious breakfast while teaching them about how their food gets from the farm to their dinner tables.

One of the goals of Breakfast on the Farm is to build trust between consumers and farmers and reassure consumers that farmers are producing our food safely. Evaluations done after last year’s events showed that 90 percent of participants said they had very high trust that farmers do the right thing in animal care. Attendees’ trust in modern-day food production increased from 56 percent before they attended Breakfast on the Farm to 80 percent afterward.

Upcoming Breakfast on the Farm dates and farm hosts are:

Consider inviting your friends and family to an upcoming event or volunteering at a local event! As families attend these events, they are also being introduced to MSU Extension and our services, and learning where their food is really coming from.

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Breakfast on the Farm succeeds despite many adversities

The last Breakfast on the Farm event of this season took place last weekend at Uphaus Farms in Washtenaw County. I was proud to hear how the event went off without a major hitch, especially considering the storm that hit the area on Friday night. The resourcefulness and perseverance of the family, volunteers and our staff prove that nothing holds down Michigan State University Extension.

A little background on Uphaus Farms: The host of this event, Lyndon Uphaus, is the fifth generation to operate the family-owned farm, which got its start 139 years ago. He and his wife, Ann, care for about 1,000 beef animals annually, with about 450 cattle on site at one time. They also work approximately 600 acres of crop land. This year, the farm boasted 450 acres of corn, 100 acres of soybeans and 50 acres of wheat.

At 8 p.m. Friday, 70 mile-per-hour winds and heavy rain caused a power outage, holding off set-up until the next morning. In addition, the rains made parking on the now-soaked grounds impossible. The family made a phone call to ensure that the drivers of four school buses would be on standby to transport visitors to the farm on Saturday morning from off-site parking two miles away.

By 7 a.m. the morning of the event, the volunteers had completed trial bus runs and rearranged some of the stations around the farm. They also acquired a second generator. The next two hours passed in a flurry of activity as workers set up stations and put up signs directing visitors to the new parking area.

“The resourcefulness and flexibility of a great group of volunteers and outstanding host family was very evident last Friday and Saturday when some quick decisions needed to be made,” said Nancy Thelen, MSU Extension educator. “The host family, every volunteer and Extension staff member worked together to make sure the flow of visitors would be safe and workable. When the last visitor left the farm at 2 p.m., it was remarkable to reflect on all the positive actions from everyone involved.”

Despite the storm and the last-minute parking changes, 2,400 visitors enjoyed the event. The Uphaus family, Nancy Thelen, program coordinator Ashley Kuschel, the planning committee and more than 400 volunteers all demonstrated just how adaptable and innovative they are by making adjustments to run the event without power and in very wet field conditions. This was the final Breakfast on the Farm for 2014, but next year, more farms will open up their doors for our program.

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Breakfast on the Farm at the Crandall Dairy serves up food, fun and learning

 Two young attendees learn about dairy farming at the Calhoun County Breakfast on the Farm, July 19, 2014, at the Crandall Dairy Farm

Two young attendees learn about dairy farming at the Calhoun County Breakfast on the Farm, July 19, 2014, at the Crandall Dairy Farm in Battle Creek, Mich. Photo by Jamie Wilson, MSU ANR Communications.

The Calhoun County Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) took place Saturday, July 19, at Crandall Dairy Farm in Battle Creek, Michigan. Attendees enjoyed a pancake and sausage breakfast as well as a tour of this Centennial Farm owned by Brad and Mark Crandall and their families.

Richard and Dawn Myers (in yellow shirts) answer attendees’ questions at the Calhoun County Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF), July 19, 2014

Richard and Dawn Myers (in yellow shirts) answer attendees’ questions at the Calhoun County Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF), July 19, 2014, at the Crandall Dairy Farm in Battle Creek, Mich. The Myers are dairy farmers who hosted their own BOTF in 2012 and volunteered their time at this event. Photo by Jamie Wilson, MSU ANR Communications.

BOTF events are a great way for people to learn about modern agriculture on a Michigan farm. Past surveys have shown that about 45 percent of those who attend have not been on a farm in the past 20 years. Visitors to the Crandall Dairy talked to local farmer volunteers, saw baby calves and learned from educational exhibits.

Extension educator Nancy Thelen shared that more than 3,300 people attended assisted by 280 volunteers on a picture-perfect day. She said that the Crandall family mentioned that many attendees thanked them for opening up the farm. Some told them it was one of the most educational mornings they ever had.

Check out these videos from WOTV4Women.com.The following features Nancy as well as Ashley Kuschel, coordinator of Breakfast on the Farm, and Crandall family members:

http://wotv4women.com/2014/07/14/experience-a-day-on-the-farm/

The following takes you right inside the Crandall Dairy farm: http://wotv4women.com/2014/07/14/how-a-dairy-farm-works/

If you missed this BOTF event, there are two more scheduled:

  • August 16: Mecosta County BOTF hosted by De Grins Oer Dairy Farm in Blanchard
  • September 6: Washtenaw County BOTF hosted by Uphaus Farms in Manchester

For more information on Breakfast on the Farm, visit http://www.breakfastonthefarm.com/.

 

 

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Breakfast on the Farm hosts recognized as outstanding dairy farmers

MSU Dairy Farmers of the Year Gertie (left) and Geert (right) van den Goor from Goma Farms near Marlette received a citation from the Sanilac County Commission commending them for their Dairy Farmers of the Year award at a commission meeting on April 15, 2014, in Sandusky, Mich.

MSU Dairy Farmers of the Year Gertie (left) and Geert (right) van den Goor from Goma Farms near Marlette received a citation from the Sanilac County Commission commending them for their Dairy Farmers of the Year award at a commission meeting on April 15, 2014, in Sandusky, Mich.

I had an opportunity to see Gertie and Geert van den Goor commended by the Sanilac County Board of Commissioners on April 15 in Sandusky. They received the MSU Dairy Farmers of the Year Award from the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. The award presentation took place on February 7 at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference, and the Sanilac commissioners wanted to add their endorsement to the recognition.

Gertie and Geert are the owners and operators of Goma Farms near Marlette, Mich. They hosted more than 2,500 visitors to their farm in 2012 for Breakfast on the Farm. They began their operation in 1999 with 100 dairy cows and have grown their operation to 2,800 Holstein cows, 2,500 head of young stock and 34 employees today. More important, they are great ambassadors for agriculture and the dairy industry, and really nice people. It was heartening to see them recognized for their many contributions to their community and to the Michigan dairy industry.

Read more in this MSU Extension news article: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/sanilac_county_farm_named_msu_2014_dairy_farm_of_the_year

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Ottawa County Breakfast on the Farm serves up more than breakfast

I had the opportunity to take part in a recent Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) event July 13 at the Walt Dairy Farm in Coopersville, Mich. More than 2,600 people, including 200 volunteers attended the Ottawa County event.

Arlyn and Kathy Walt met with MSU Extension Director Tom Coon (right) July 13 during  Breakfast on the Farm

Arlyn and Kathy Walt met with MSU Extension Director Tom Coon (right) July 13 during a Breakfast on the Farm event held at the Walt’s farm in Coopersville, Mich.

I met farm owners Arlyn and Kathy Walt who hosted the event on their 1,200-acre farm containing 430 dairy cows.  Having worked on farms in Iowa as a youth, I’m always impressed by the willingness of farm families like the Walts to open their farms to complete strangers who may not know much about their work. But in talking with them, I could see that they are more interested in helping people understand how important it is for the Walts to ensure that the people who buy their products understand how seriously they take their responsibilities to provide a safe and healthful product in a way that enhances their farmland’s sustainability. And hosting one of these events is a huge commitment on the part of the farm family. I am awed by their generosity and openness.

Ottawa County administrator Alan Vanderberg called the Ottawa County BOTF “an outstanding event” in the Ottawa County Administrator’s Digest published July 16.

Visit www.breakfastonthefarm.com to find a BOTF event near you. The next one will be on August 17 at the Humm Farm near Breckenridge in Gratiot County.

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Breakfast on the Farm sets attendance record, helps the public understand how their food is produced

In a recent Spotlight article, I let you know that Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) is entering its fourth season this year. BOTF is a popular event that attracts Michigan residents who want to learn more about how a farm operates, have a delicious down-on-the-farm breakfast and just enjoy a Saturday with family or friends.

The first BOTF took place in Clinton County in 2009. This Michigan State University Extension program guided by a statewide advisory council has held 13 events from 2009 through 2011. This year, eight events will take place in eight counties.

The first 2012 BOTF occurred June 16 at Myers Farms LLC near Scotts in Kalamazoo County, the first time the event took place in southwestern Michigan. Despite the more than 90-degree heat, 2,430 visitors from 71 cities and 8 states got a firsthand look at how farmers care for the environment and their animals, and how they produce a safe, wholesome food supply. Nearly 50 percent of those who completed surveys stated this was the first time they had visited a working dairy farm in at least the past 20 years. Many were impressed with the cleanliness of the operation.

Jackson County’s first Breakfast on the Farm took place June 23 at Choate’s Belly Acres near Cement City. This BOTF set a new attendance record of 2,658 attendees. Long lines did not dampen the interest of the visitors who came to enjoy the pancakes, sausage, eggs, applesauce and yogurt breakfast, and to learn from the more than 200 volunteers about modern agriculture. This family farm uses technology in their dairy and cropping system. The majority of those completing surveys said the event increased their knowledge and changed their perceptions about modern food production, including how farmers care for the environment, how they treat their animals and how they provide comfortable housing for them. They also reported that their participation increased the likelihood that they will purchase Michigan products and increased their trust in milk as a safe food.

MSU Extension agriculture literacy educators Nancy Thelen and Mary Dunckel would like to thank all of the Extension educators, specialists and district coordinators who’ve assisted or will assist in BOTF and the generous statewide and local sponsors and many local volunteers who make the events possible. They say local planning committees are the key to implementing each breakfast.

Enjoy a visit to the Goma Dairy in Sanilac County on July 21 or check the schedule for a BOTF near you.

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Breakfast on the Farm launches its fourth season this Saturday

Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) is a program that has reached more than 23,000 Michiganders who take a few hours out of a Saturday to visit a Michigan farm, learn about how the farm operates in order to produce safe and healthy food, and enjoy some of Michigan’s agricultural bounty for breakfast. Michigan State University Extension educators, specialists and volunteers turn out to help ensure a safe, fun and educational experience for Michigan consumers.

This year’s first BOTF event takes place at Myers Farms LLC near Scotts in Kalamazoo County June 16. The event opens to the public at 10 a.m. and will remain open until 2 p.m. Breakfast will be served from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The farm tour and breakfast are free, but tickets are limited and required to eat breakfast. Click here to find out where to obtain free tickets for Saturday’s event and more information. View the schedule of the other seven events here.

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