On a typical day, the University of Missouri South Farm Research Center is calm as workers complete their assigned tasks, but on Sept. 28, the South Farm Showcase brought in a whole new crowd and a lot of action.
An array of people from a variety of backgrounds came to the 13th Annual Showcase to learn more about agriculture, specifically the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at Mizzou. Visitors to the event found educational opportunities and fun activities for people of all ages to enjoy. Tim Reinbott, director of field operations at South Farm, said he believes that agriculture is an important subject for people to learn more about and the showcase provides an opportunity for people to do so.
“The purpose is to showcase to the general public about the college and agriculture and how it can touch everybody’s lives,” Reinbott said.
In recent years, the main focus for improvement has been making the event more family oriented. In an effort to expand and reach more people, the planning committee created the “passport system” for the different activities to ensure people were visiting several of the booths. Families who visit at least 10 booths and check them off on their passports receive a free pumpkin upon their departure.
“We realized that in order to get people’s attention, we had to be family focused. So a lot of our emphasis is on the kids,” Reinbott said. “The idea is that if you get the kids there, you can get the parents there too.”
At the showcase, there were not only fun activities such as corn and sunflower mazes and a booth for face painting, but there were also many informational booths about various agricultural and conservation topics and some of the most groundbreaking research currently being conducted at Mizzou.
“Our biggest concern is making sure we are educating people and not just having fun,” Reinbott said. “Making a fun event is easy, but it is important to make sure people think it’s not just fun on the farm.”
Kate Haarman, a current Mizzou student and worker at the research center, believes the showcase is an important community event that gives the public a view of the different aspects of CAFNR.
“I’ll obviously be back next year,” Haarman said. “Even if I didn’t work here, I would still attend as it is a really cool activity and has something for everyone.”