Sunday, August 22, 2010

Agvocating with Free Fun

Funnel cakes,corn dogs,merry-go-rounds,exhibits--fairs bring all kinds of fun,food,entertainment and experiences. Most parents bringing their children to the Benton County Fair will tell you that the best fun is the free petting zoo. This past week was my fifteenth year to volunteer for the Benton County Farm Bureau Petting Zoo during the Benton County Fair. In the beginning the purpose for the petting zoo was to provide children an up close experience with a farm animal. Baby chicks were the logical first choice for the petting zoo because Benton County is number one in poultry production in Arkansas. The petting zoo is still an amazing hands on experience but as our county has become increasingly urbanized and the number of farms and farmers is decreasing, we have felt the increased importance of sharing information about agriculture with the consuming public. As the children and adults are holding the baby chicks, petting the baby pigs or calf, we are educating about agriculture, dispelling misinformation and providing a place where farmers can connect with consumers in a fun and friendly setting. If you are an advocate, you are supporting or pleading for a cause. As an agvocate I am pleading my cause--agriculture! As a beef and dairy farmer, volunteering in the petting zoo is one way I agvocate. For fun at home,you can check out fun facts about agriculture at With only two percent of the American population producing food,fiber and fuel for our country and the world and young consumers more than three generations removed from the farm, it is important that we share how we produce the safest and most affordable food that is vital to daily life in the city or on the farm.

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