A recent Farm Road Rally hosted by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) took nine “influencers” out of their offices and onto the farm in an effort to help answer questions about modern food production in order to help them make better food choices for their family. The group which was comprised of dieticians, a chef, administrative assistant and several urban consumers, made its first pit stop at the Kevin Sladky Farm south of Wahoo.
Beef: Kevin and his wife Brandy operate a third generation farm raising corn, soybeans, alfalfa, seed corn and seed soybeans. In 2004, Kevin started his beef herd becoming a first generation livestock farmer. The group discussed row-crop farming and watched them harvest soybeans, talked about the environment, input costs and economics, and heard more about the lifecycle of beef animals, including diet and health programs.
Carrie Nielsen, Linden Market Hy-Vee Dietitian in Omaha, says the tour was important in that it helped her see how agriculture has changed and evolved.
Pork: The tour’s second stop was with Jim Pillen and his daughter Sarah at the PST Danbred facility by Brainard. The group toured their breeding stock development facility while hearing about individual housing for the sows to enhance their individual care, keeping them safe, health, well-fed and comfortable in controlled environment buildings.
Dairy: The last stop of the day took the group to Surprise to visit Tuls Dairies. Attendees heard about all aspects of the dairy from the feed sheds, to barns, through the maternity ward and they were fortunate enough to witness a calf being born! They then visited the milking parlor to see the technology in moving the milk, cooling it and into the tankers to be shipped.
Nielsen says the tour provided learning opportunities that she can take home to her own children, who then interact with peers at a large Omaha school.
Farm Bureau is one of six founding partners of A-FAN. Farm Bureau funding and support of A-FAN is crucial to the organization’s success.