Nicole Small is a mom to 2 boys and along with her husband, runs their beef, wheat, corn and soybean farm in Southeast Kansas. On her blog she shares a mixture of family life on the farm, delicious and easy recipes and snapshots from her corner of agriculture. Visit her blog or find her on facebook or twitter.
For many people around the country the end of summer brings a trip to the county or state fair. What a great place to learn about where food comes from (while eating all the fried food one can consume in a day). I want to challenge all of you to stray from the midway and learn a little while at the fair.
While most fairs have fancy booths setup for people (mainly kids) to learn about agriculture, I think the best place to learn is right inside the livestock barns. My boys worked with their animals early in the morning and late at night to beat the heat before our fair. They are only 7 and 10 years old, so getting up at 6 am and going to bed at 10 pm makes for a long day and they are not alone. Lots of kids across American get up early even before school to care for their animals.
Like my friend Rudy Taylor explained in this post there is no such thing as just a farm kid. These kids know how their animals have been exercised.
They also know exactly what their animals are eating. When one needs to lose a little fat, they know they need to increase the protein in the feed. They know exactly how these animals have been cared for every day, because they were the ones that did it.
Here’s another great part of talking to kids: they will tell you exactly how it is (they don’t sugar coat anything.) They know why they raise these animals whether it is a dairy heifer for milk or a steer for beef.
Please take time to talk to those you grow your food. There are also those at the fairs that are ranchers and farmers showing their livestock. They love to show off their stock. They gladly talk about their animals to anyone who will listen. I know, I have tried to have a short conversation with them.
Now, if you take your kids with you, PLEASE ask before you let the kids pet the animals. Cows kick. Cute lambs bite. Horses bite. Pigs like to chew on shoes.
We all need to educate ourselves more about where our food comes from. I know how things are grown on my farm, but I don’t have a clue about raising fish, chickens or cotton. I hope to get more farmers to share their stories on my page, Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom, through the Flat Aggie project.
Above all, have a great time at the fair, ask lots of questions, and if you don’t get your question answered send it to me and I will help you find an answer.