Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Scott County City to Country Tour, 2012

The Scott County office of the University of Minnesota's Extension Service held its 14th Annual City to Country Farm Tour on Saturday, September 29, 2012. Nancy and I set up our farm display in a large tent at Casey Acres, near Prior Lake. A display by Tim Dolan of Minnesota Corn Growers was next to us, and filling the rest of the tent were tables set up for visitors to eat lunch. The mild weather made it a perfect day for the over 550 people who attended the event.

The tour included three farms: Casey Acres, Prior lake, MN; Green Acres, Credit River, MN; and SMSC Wozupi TSA Garden, Prior Lake. Since the locations were within a few miles of each other, visitors could easily drive from farm to farm to tour all of them in a day and come and go without any particular schedule.
Consequently, Nancy and I decided that instead of doing a program, we would use our space to display our Farm Heritage photographs, which included having the television run a DVD of farm photos that turn on a 3-second delay and lasts for 25 minutes. This worked out really well because visitors could view while they eat, leave to see a scheduled farm demonstration, and then return to view more photos whenever it was convenient.

Before visitors came in the morning, Nancy snapped a photo of the food tent and an oak tree (above), which has been around a long time as well. The food was tended by Girls Scouts under the leadership of Kevin Giles.
Also, we were lucky to meet meet Helen Casey, whose sons Pat and Rob run the farm.
Casey Acres is a Century Farm, which means it's been in the family for 100 years or more. It has been in the Casey Family since 1855 and is presently owned and operated by brothers, Rob and Pat Casey, and their family. Pat's son Calvin is the sixth generation on the farm.

The dairy farm has a comfortable stanchion set up. The family has 100 head of dairy cows (mostly Holsteins), farms 1600 acres of land, and manages a beef cow/calf operation of 40 head.
Tim Nelson, who works at Valley View Dairy Co-Op in Hastings, came early to set up to distribute milk and shakes. He stopped to visit with us and view our display. Then he bought his son Brett, pictured below, a book.
Brett picked out What I Saw on the Farm.

Visitors were free to roam around the farm on their own, and there were a number of stations where they could stop to read explanations of the dairy process.
Children love to get close to the cows.

The above sign explains about the barn pictured below.

 Everyone liked to visit the calf huts.

 The hospital barn, shown below, provides a place for cattle needing temporary extra care.

 At the "What do cows eat?" station, a knowledgeable guide (standing) explained the contents of each pile of food, and she readily answered questions from the curious audience members who enjoyed the opportunity to feel and smell the food that cows eat.

 Children and adults enjoyed the self-guided tour, but volunteers were always nearby to ensure safety and answer questions.
Some children took time to sit down and read a few of my books.

At 2:00 PM Pat Casey (wearing the green cap in photo below) brought in a cow to demonstrate the milking process.
Visitors crowded close (but not too close) to watch the milking demonstration.

The above sign answers many of the questions I get asked most often by children after I do my Farm Heritage Program at elementary schools. I thought I'd add it at the end for those who aren't quite sure.

We'd like to thank Laura Kieser from the Scott County Extension Services for inviting us to attend the show. We especially thank our neighbors at Casey Acres for inviting everyone to tour their farm, and we thank the many volunteers and sponsors who donated time and money to the project, which is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
Every modern dairy farm is clean every day, but to prepare a large operation so the public is free to walk about takes a lot of preparation. We are all thankful that farmers volunteer their facilities and that the extension services and the farmers take the time and effort to have the program. 
It's a great opportunity for adults and children to view a modern farm operation. Check out the website and put the show on your calendar for 2013. www.co.scott.mn.us

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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