June 29, 2012

Farm Road Rally brings dietitians, farmers together


Get on the bus!

The Farm Road Rally II, hosted by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture (A-FAN) and CommonGround Nebraska, took place this week as a farm bus tour for dieticians, grocery store managers and food influencers in the Omaha area.

The tour left from Omaha and first stopped at Scott Wagner’s family farm outside of Fremont, Nebraska. Scott is a row-crop farmer and shared about raising corn and soybeans and explained the importance of the crops in terms of a livestock feed, fuel and food. Scott showed his large tractor with GPS technology to explain how farmers are more efficient than ever, as well as his semi and grain bins to talk about grain handling and transportation.

On the bus ride after Scott's tour, his father, Virgil, rode with the group and talked about how farming has changed from when he started farming years ago. He even pulled out his smart phone to look up what the commodity markets were doing and to talk about technology.

After learning about the feed, we headed off to show the participants one of the users of that feed – pigs and cattle! We stopped first at Dan Kluthe’s hog farm near Hooper, Nebraska. Dan uses new technology to capture the pigs waste to eliminate his odor footprint and create fuel for his vehicles. Dan explained his animal welfare practices of taking good care of his pigs, so he can produce safe, tasty pork!







Our last stop on the tour was for lunch and a visit to a CommonGround Nebraska volunteer, Joan Ruskamp. Joan and her husband, Steve, have a beef feelot near Dodge, Nebraska. Joan shared the healthful aspect of beef in your diet and then gave us a tour of the feedlot for the participants to see how records are kept, withdrawal periods for animals given antibiotics, feeding rations and overall animal care for the beef cattle.


On the bus ride back to Omaha, CommonGround volunteer, Chandra Horky from Sargent, Nebraska, shared to the participants about her family farm and raising cows and calves – the process of where cattle are raised before they come to a feedlot like Joan’s. Chandra talked about the time of year that their cows have calves, what they feed them, and even how they call them in to feed, “MAAAAASSSS!”. The cows come running when they hear that because they know they are going to get fed. AFAN Road Rally 095

This was the second bus tour that A-FAN has put on. The first Farm Road Rally looked at a cow-calf farm and hog farm, but CommonGround volunteer, Joan Ruskamp, rode along with the tour to explain the feedlot side of the beef industry and answer questions about feeding, hormones and animal care.

Thanks again to A-FAN for shining a light on Nebraska agriculture to those who work on the food end of the industry and communicate those food issues to consumers themselves.

For answers to your food questions and to meet real farmers and ranchers, go to FindOurCommonGround.com!

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