Have you ever met a farmer? This summer at Fair Oaks Farms®, you can! Meet the Farmer is a new talk series hosted at Fair Oaks Farms, aimed to educate visitors on the work of a farmer and innovations in the agriculture industry. Each Meet the Farmer day consists of two, 2-hour sessions with a break between sessions. Jamie Miller, the Adventure Manager, recently sat down to answer some questions about the new program. Read below to find out how you can attend!
What can visitors learn during Meet the Farmer?
Jamie: Who [the farmers] are, their background, why they chose agriculture as their field, what they love about their role, some of the challenges in their role and industry, what they want folks to know, fun facts about their industry, lots of in-depth info, why they think innovation [in agriculture] is important and other random questions!
Will visitors be able to ask the farmer questions?
Jamie: Of course! These farmers are excited to talk about their role in agriculture and would love a chance to speak with consumers!
Who are some of the speakers?
Jamie: Here is what we have so far…Iris Ordoñez, an assistant manager at Prairie’s Edge Dairy. Fun fact: She has her pilot’s license and loves to fly. Kasey Sheldon, a former manager at Legacy Farms. She enjoys showing pigs with her young sons and husband. Lance Barton, a pig farmer at Belstra Milling for over 20 years. Matt Kallemeyn, the current caretaker of the Fair Oaks Farms Orchard and gardens. Nick DeKryger, who has spent most of his life working with pigs at Belstra Miller. He also spent time in DC lobbying for pig farming while getting his Master’s. Doug Moulder, the current manager at Legacy who has over 20 years of pig farming experience!
What is the goal of Meet the Farmer?
Jamie: To give visitors a chance to directly speak with the people feeding us and give them a rare chance to ask questions.
When and where does Meet the Farmer take place?
Jamie: Dairy farmers will be in the Dairy Adventure Interactive Area, pig farmers in the Pig Adventure Gestation Barn, and agronomists/crop farmers in the Crop Adventure. (You can see a full schedule below.)
Do visitors need to buy tickets? How can they attend?
Jamie: Visitors must have a wristband for admission, but there are no additional fees to attend.
Are these talks for visitors of all ages? What can a child or an adult learn from a farmer?
Jamie: Absolutely for all ages! Children can learn where their food comes from. Milk doesn’t exactly come from the store! Most pigs actually live in comfortable indoor farms. Adults will be able to learn about the innovation that today’s farms use while still caring for the land, the animals, and safety of the food they’re producing.
Are there any speakers you’d like to have in the future?
Jamie: My favorite speakers are the ones that can entertain while educating. Speakers that have lots of action behind their words. I’d love to continue the program and offer visitors the opportunity to speak to a wide range of agricultural leaders.
All talks begin at 10 am and 2 pm.
- Saturday, May 26th – Iris Ordoñez in Dairy Adventure Interactive Area
- Friday, June 1st – Kasey Sheldon in Pig Adventure Gestation Barn
- Thursday, June 14th – Lance Barton in Pig Adventure Gestation Barn
- Thursday, June 28th – Matt Kallemeyn in Crop Adventure
- Thursday, August 2nd – Nick DeKryger in Pig Adventure Gestation Barn
- Thursday, August 16th – Doug Moulder in Pig Adventure Gestation Barn
You will notice that some dates are open. If you would like the opportunity to speak please contact Jamie Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 394-2025, extension 315.