“Show Me” Agriculture

My summer travels continued as I had the opportunity to spend some time in the great “Show Me” state of Missouri.

My first two days in the St. Louis area were with my Illinois Farm Bureau internship. I went with the Cultivating Master Farmers Program on an ag industry tour around the St. Louis area.

St. Louis Science Center – Our first stop was the St. Louis Science Center’s brand new GROW exhibit. This is the first permanent agriculture exhibit of its kind. It includes videos of Illinois farmers and stories of farming in Missouri. It had a combine, orchard, beehive, and water area.

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center – The next stop was the Danforth Plant Science Center. They are doing lots of amazing plant research. Most of the information they shared was completely over my head, but absolutely fascinating.

Growmark’s Bussen Spur River Terminal – The last official stop of the day was Growmark’s river terminal. We toured their facilities and learned about Growmark’s business.

Finally, we went to one of the master farmers’ farm for dinner. The evening included delicious food, fantastic conversation, and a beautiful setting.

Osborn & Barr – The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Osborn & Barr, an agricultural advertising agency. They gave us a tour of their downtown St. Louis officer that is full of history and decorated with contemporary details and decked out with modern technology. They also told us about their Barnstorm program, to help farmers brand themselves and their farms.

The Maschhoffs – Our final stop was at The Maschhoffs, a family-owned pork business. We learned about their business and discussed some of the ways farms are passed down through the generations.

My third day in St. Louis was the beginning of Ag Media Summit, a conference for ag communicators from all over the nation to network and learn from each other. As part of the conference, I attended another series of farm tours in rural Missouri.

Purina Animal Nutrition Center – This tour started at “the Farm,” where Purina has a farm with many units including beef, dairy, equine, & companion animals. We saw their state of the art equipment and technology in those areas.

Geisert Farms – Our next stop was a 360O turn around. We boarded a hayrack and toured a pasture pig farm where the pigs are rotated on the ground with produce, like farmers did 100+ years ago. Then we ate lunch at his restaurant/grocery store.

Scheer Dairy – The 3rd stop of the day was a dairy with three robotic milkers. Unfortunately, as is the nature of the business, the robotic arms had broken down that morning and Mr. Scheer was waiting for the maintenance man to get there.

Robller Vineyard – The last stop was very interesting, as I haven’t had the opportunity to tour a vineyard before. While I’m not quite old enough to participate in the wine tasting, it created a nice atmosphere for networking and discussing everything we saw that day.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to see snapshots of the agricultural industry in the St. Louis area!

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