More than just cattle were on display at MU’s South Farm, which held its first South Farm Showcase on Saturday.
Games, animals, plants and even bug races entertained visitors to the 1,452 acre farm, which is operated by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
“We want to invite the community to learn what we do in the college and how it affects their food,” said Marc Linit, associate dean for research and extension at the college. “We view South Farm as a valuable property not only for teachers, but also a valuable resource for the community.”
Complete with knowledgeable tour guides, buses escorted visitors through eight stations spread across the vast farm.
“Turf and Ornamentals,” one of the stations, encouraged visitors to ask questions about their gardens and gave children an opportunity to run on the farm’s very own “Field of Dreams” baseball diamond. At another station, “The Lake,” visitors learned about erosion and pollution and played a game of chestnut toss.
Stephanie Walter wandered in a sunflower maze with her three children, ranging in age from 1½ to 6 years old, and her 10-year-old niece.
“The kids found the way better than I did,” she said. “I like that they are learning about bugs and water and nature while they are here.”
The “Beef Farm” boasted a variety of animals to view up-close and personal, giving children and adults a chance to pet and feed the pigs, sheep and cows that live there.
Tommy Mueller, a junior at MU, volunteered for the day to answer questions.
“(The kids) love to feed the animals,” he said. “A lot don’t get to see these types of animals.”
The South Farm Showcase lasted only a day, but the farm’s doors are open year-round to visitors looking for a little knowledge about their food or just looking for a chance to mingle with the animals. The farm is eventually hoping to offer bike paths, walking paths and self-guided tours to visitors.