Tag Archives: breakfast on the farm

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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MSU Extension staff members educate at Ag Expo

Visitors to Ag Expo take a break from the heat.

Visitors to Ag Expo take a break from the heat. The event took place July 16‒18, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Amanda Mitchell, ANR Communications.

It was another hot one! Just like last year and the year before that, Michigan State University Extension staff members braved the 90-plus degree heat and high humidity July 16‒18 at the 2013 Ag Expo on the MSU campus. Although attendance was down from last year (total attendance was 12,600), and the heat even prompted some visitors to stop and find a shady place to rest during the event, our staff members kept up the task at hand – delivering research-based education and promoting our programs.

At the Crop and Soil Science Corner, attendees learned about energy crops and biomass pelletization, and the soil practices that impact soil health.

In the Mortality Management Tent, visitors heard experts talk about work directed at minimizing environmental impacts of animal agriculture including manure and mortality composting (with daily demonstrations), air quality management and on-farm water use.

At the Information Station, the MSU Extension Bookstore offered selected educational publications at no charge along with MSU Extension bookmarks and tote bags. The tent also contained publications for purchase and sample publications and DVDs on a wide variety of topics that people could purchase online. In addition, randomly selected visitors took an MSU Extension Bookstore survey. Upon completion of the survey, these attendees received a book as a thank-you.

Michigan State University Extension staff members Joyce McGarry (green shirt) and Beth Jabin (white shirt), interact with Ag Expo attendees

Michigan State University Extension staff members Joyce McGarry (green shirt) and Beth Jabin (white shirt), interact with Ag Expo attendees at the Health and Nutrition Institute Booth. The event took place July 16‒18, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Dawn Contreras.

Staff members gave a tour of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center.

Our staff educated through demonstrations and displays in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Tent.

Extension staff members presented sessions on gardening in containers, starting a successful cottage food industry and growing tomatoes.

At the combined MSU Extension and AgBioResearch area, visitors received educational information about the two organizations. They learned the locations of MSU Extension county offices and AgBioResearch research centers. They picked up brochures and some fun giveaways for both adults and kids.

Attendees learned about healthy eating at the Health and Nutrition Institute’s display, which featured visual models to help visitors better understand nutrition. Examples included a one-pound replica of human fat and a display showing the amount of hidden sugar and fat in commonly consumed items. Visitors viewed jars containing jellybeans, which demonstrated the amount of bacteria that grows on food when it’s left out for extended periods, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.

Jars with jellybeans demonstrate the amount of bacteria that grows on food

Jars with jellybeans demonstrate the amount of bacteria that grows on food when it’s left out for extended periods, increasing the risk of foodborne illness. The jars were part of the Michigan State University Extension Health and Nutrition Institute display at Ag Expo July 16‒18, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Dawn Contreras

The Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) area featured Breakfast on the Farm and agriculture literacy. Topic areas included dairy and crop progress, soil conservation, Michigan agriculture, animal well-being and the cow as a natural recycler. Visitors practiced milking a wooden dairy cow. A display featured food items made in Michigan; another showed Michigan’s number-one national ranking for the production of blueberries, sour cherries, pickling cucumbers and 12 floriculture crops. Children and adults enjoyed making butter by shaking containers of whipping cream until they had butter and buttermilk. The AABI area also included a display on irrigation management.

Plenty of activities in the tent commanded the attention of young visitors. The Children and Youth Institute display area featured the Commodity Carnival game in which young people learned how weather and commodity prices affect profit when selling livestock. Kids also spun a life-skills wheel, where they learned more about the four cornerstones of 4-H (head, heart, hands and health) and won prizes. The early childhood education team promoted early childhood literacy and gave away books donated by the Molina Foundation.

MSU Extension got the message out about smart gardening. Master Gardener volunteers and MSU Extension staff members found that Ag Expo was the perfect place to discuss how home gardeners can be good stewards of the environment while growing gardens and lawns.

Michigan State University Extension educator Sara Keinath explains the 4-H life-skills wheel to two young attendees of Ag Expo.

Michigan State University Extension educator Sara Keinath explains the 4-H life-skills wheel to two young attendees of Ag Expo. The event took place July 16‒18, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Amanda Mitchell, ANR Communications.

Visitors to the CANR tent contributed $1,727 to support CANR scholarships and enjoyed complimentary ice cream from the MSU Dairy Store.

Other exhibitors in the CANR Tent included the national agricultural fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho, the CANR Alumni Association, the CANR Office of Academic and Student Affairs, the College of Veterinary Medicine, Firewise, the Institute of Water Research, Kettunen Center, Michigan FFA, the Michigan Nut Growers Association, Michigan Pork, My Horse University and Michigan Equine News, the MSU Product Center and MSU Surplus and Recycling,

Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Marianna Foster (right) gives attendees tips on smart gardening at Ag Expo.

Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Marianna Foster (right) gives attendees tips on smart gardening at Ag Expo. The event took place July 16‒18, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Amanda Mitchell, ANR Communications.

Since our staff did so much, I’ve probably left something out. If you’d like to mention your display or presentation or anything else about Ag Expo, please let us know about it in the comments section for this article.

Thanks to all who helped out at Ag Expo whether out front or behind the scenes.

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Video highlights St. Clair County Breakfast on the Farm

In last week’s Spotlight, I mentioned the success of the St. Clair County Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) at the Reid Dairy Farm in Jeddo, Mich. June 15. Michigan State University Extension St. Clair County put out a video that gives a clear picture of just how many people it takes to put on the event.

Ashley Kuschel, MSU Extension Breakfast on the Farm coordinator, said, “Around 300 people volunteered, making the event a huge success!”

Ashley works with Nancy Thelen, MSU Extension agriculture literacy educator, to put on all of the BOTF events.

BOTF is not just about eating a delicious breakfast. The event gives consumers an opportunity to learn about agriculture. They learn how farmers use technology to produce the food they enjoy. They can see firsthand how producers take good care of the animals to produce a healthy product for the consumer.

View the video below.  You may recognize many familiar faces.

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