Sunday, August 7, 2016

Smithsonian 'Ask a Farmer'

I enjoyed doing a virtual question and answer session at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, so when they asked me to do a real-life one - and bring my mom - I was even more excited.

The theme for Ask a Farmer was 'Family Farms, Family History'.  The promotion said, "Meet farmers whose land and farms have been in their family for generations, and join us for a live panel discussion with these family farmers on history, agriculture, and the future; moderated by Susan Evans McClure, Smithsonian Food History Program Director."

The other panelists were Brenda Frketich and her dad Paul Kirsch, nut and grass farmers in Oregon, and Leighton Cooley and his dad Larry, who are chicken farmers in Georgia.

My mom and I walked all over DC to see the monuments, and even ate lunch in the Dept of Agriculture cafeteria, because that seemed super fitting.

It was so great meeting with everyone at dinner - including our moderator Susan and Katharine Mead, who did the virtual event.  Funny, smart, interesting people.

For instance, there's so much I don't know about being a seed farmer!  Did you know that the companies have to get together and decide - together - what's being grown where so the produce doesn't cross pollinate?  That's a lot of cooperation and organization.

We went to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and readied for the program.  Look what was right next to our stage!

My friend Alicia even came all the way from Maryland to see it!  Here we are in the Smithsonian kitchen -

So we knew we had one audience member ... as we started, people filled in, including a class of little kids.  We had a really great discussion, well-moderated by Susan, and then the audience asked questions.  Two questions were my favorite - one little kid asked, "How do worms move through dirt?" and another asked, "Are farmers allowed to visit the farms of other farmers?"  There were also adult questions - like about generational conflict, herd management, sustainability, and what we see for our farms' futures.

The Smithsonian videotaped it all and will be sharing clips from it soon.  It was an enjoyable, interesting, and hopefully informative program.  Thanks to the Smithsonian and U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance for all their work making this and other similar programs possible.  (If only everyone in DC worked together this well!)


Meanwhile, back on the farm, Kris and the guys got the hay done and the pile covered!  Ahh ... another cutting in the books.  We're still having calves left and right, but it's August and the slowdown is in sight.  The cows are loving the cooler weather, and as a result they're giving more milk!  It was so cool last night that I had to put on a jacket ... which is definitely indicative of weather cattle prefer.  And even cooler to come!

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1 comment:

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