LYON COUNTY - The Lyon County Farm Bureau hosted its very first "I Met a Farmer" tour on Thursday that included a group of 15 Lyon County professionals. The tour aimed to educate the public and stimulate dialogue between agriculture and non agriculture communities.
Modeled after a successful Rock County farm tour, the board members of the Lyon County Farm Bureau took on the project with the goal of promoting and educating people about agriculture.
The invitation-only event drew a variety of local leaders, including a school administrator and a restaurant owner.
Photo by Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe
The tour’s first stop Thursday was at Moorse Dairy Farm near Minneota. Here, Brittany Moorse talks about milking.
"We wanted a wide range of people to attend. It's a fun event to do for the community." said Carolyn Olson, the president of the Lyon County Farm Bureau. Olson stated the importance of getting to meet farmers and asking them questions. The "I Met a Farmer" tour was intended to provide clarification on different agricultural processes, ranging from dairy and beef operations, to hog and crop farming.
Brad Hennen, a member of the Lyon County Farm Bureau, rode along with the bus tour and described his thoughts on the event.
"What we're doing today is maybe a little bit new for the farm bureau and agriculture. We're trying to facilitate communication between the consuming public and our farms. Because so many of our consumers these days don't know anyone who lives on a farm, there's no shared empathy. There's a lot to gain from shared understanding."
The five-hour excursion consisted of four family farms in Lyon County.
The first stop was at Moorse Dairy Farm, a third generation farm located near Minneota. Recent South Dakota State University graduate Brittany Moorse explained the day-to-day activities of her family farm.
The theme of family played a huge role in making the tour possible.
"I'm impressed that all of the farmers have young people involved. This event is showing how families are working on farms these days." said Deanna Coudron, who is the secretary of the Lyon County Farm Bureau.
Southpass, Inc., operated by Greg and Stacey Ludeman is a fourth generation family farm. Southpass was another stop on the "I Met a Farmer" tour. 13 year old Kendra Ludeman explained, "Not a lot of other kids have this experience. It's fun. We get to help out with chores and the baby pigs."
Along with the Moorse Dairy Farm and Southpass, Inc., Thursday's tour also explored Triple C Feeders, LLC in Balaton, operated by the Chandler family, and the Coudron Farm in Milroy, owned by Steve and Roger Coudron.
The local professionals on the tour had some connection to agriculture. Whether it be feed suppliers who provide nutrition for farm animals, or restaurant owners selling glazed pork ribs, each had some connection to agriculture. The people in attendance grew a greater appreciation for the farming industry.
US Bank employee Mary Erbes called her experience on the "I Met a Farmer" tour "amazing."
"They did a great job putting it together. It's opened my eyes to what our farmers do for the community."
As a loan officer, Erbes explained how banking provides financing for the agriculture industry. "We are proud and excited whenever we can lend to the farming community to help them grow their business."
The tour informed local leaders about several other farming procedures like biosecurity, cow milking and government-mandated manner plans. The different farms the tour visited stressed the priority of animal care and food safety.
Countless questions were raised by those participating in the tour. There was a particular interest in how technology connects to modern farming. State Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap described tractors equipped with three computer screens and hands-free steering to the busload of curious invitees. Paap said GPS has revolutionized farming.
After the tour, the group was treated to a steak dinner at the Coudron farm, where conversation continued on the importance of educating the public about agriculture.
Being Lyon County's first attempt at the "I Met a Farmer" tour, Olson sees major possibilities for coming years.
"We've had fun planning, and we want this to be an annual event in the future."