Everyone wants to know more about where their food comes from. No, not Harps or Wal-Mart, but where it REALLY comes from. Who raised it? How did it get from the farm to my plate?
For six years, women from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and Arkansas Cattlewomen have been helping moms in Northwest Arkansas answer that question through the Moms on the Farm Tour. These ladies are taking their knowledge of agriculture and food production and sharing it by hosting tours of local beef, dairy and poultry farms in Washington and Benton counties. The next Moms on the Farm Tour is scheduled for Oct. 24.
At Anglin Dairy in Bentonville, these moms will be able to stand in the milking parlor while farmers milk the cows. Susan Anglin’s family has been milking cows for four generations, and she loves to talk about caring for the cows and producing safe and wholesome milk to Hiland Dairy. After the milking demonstration, tourists will see the cows being fed and all the different feeds that the cows eat in the commodity barn. Saving the best for last, the tourists will get to visit and pet the baby calves and learn how cows are raised from birth to the milking parlor.
Moooooving from dairy to beef, the tour will stop in Greenlawn Farm in Decatur to visit the McGee family. Four generations of McGees have farmed in Benton County for 75 years. There, the attendees will see a demonstration of caring for beef cattle and probably a few baby calves. The bus will then head to one of the prettiest views in NWA, a grassy hilltop on the McGee farm where you can see all the way to Missouri.
The last stop on the tour will be Smith broiler farm in Decatur. The Smiths raise chickens for Tyson and there they will have the opportunity to see the inside of a chicken house and ask any questions they may have about how chickens are raised for meat.
After touring the farms, the tour bus heads back for lunch and cooking demos from Wendy Pettz of the Arkansas Cattlewomen. Just like on the Food Network, Wendy will share three quick and easy beef and poultry dishes with the group, including samples.
The day ends with a question and answer session. No question is off-limits. These farmers and agriculturalists are proud of their products and how they grow them. In the past, the conversations have covered hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, animal welfare, food safety, food labels such as organic, natural and grass-fed, cooking methods, and proper storage for fresh foods. Experts from the University of Arkansas will include animal nutritionists, meat scientists, and poultry scientists in addition to several ladies who have been farming and ranching all their lives.
The next Moms on the Farm Tour is Oct. 24 in Benton County. The day will start at about 8:30 a.m. at the Benton County Extension Office and round up about 2:30 p.m. The cost is free and anyone, ages 14 and up, is welcome. If you are interested in attending, email Dr. Janeal Yancey (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Arkansas. You can also see more photos and testimonials from past tours on their Facebook page.