Farm Food Tour “Science Behind the Food”

(Jancey) We also had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Dan Thomson, a veterinarian here at K-State. That was really awesome because one of the hot button issues right now is antibiotics in animals, whether that’s safe, especially once those animals come to your food supply. So, it was really cool, A-just to talk about that, kind of delve into the science behind that. It was really cool to see the connections made between, as a human if you’re sick you want to be treated. So, livestock are the same way. You want to make sure they’re valued because a sick animal is not gonna be a quality animal to eat, but it’s also not gonna be a quality animal for the farmer. Also, kind of making that connection that these animals are live, breathing things. Very important to take care of the quality of that animal, make sure it has a good life before it goes to serve its ultimate purpose on our plates. So, that was really cool to delve into that science and see that connection. (Dan) Hey folks, this is Dr. Dan and we’ve had a great day. I was excited to spend some time with the Kansas City area bloggers, the food bloggers because it really gets back to that point of being able to talk to the consumer, talk to the producer and have the dialogue be between the producer and the consumer. Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Soybean Commission and From the Land of Kansas have done a great job of helping us tie these types of events together. They’re helping us create the knowledge base, so that consumers understand how their food is produced. And when we see bloggers and we start to think about the ability to communicate, it really gets back to that point in time that not only do they need to get the information correct on how our food is produced, but it’s economically prudent for our society that we get this story straight and get it to where it really makes a benefit to the animals that we’re raising to produce safe, wholesome food. And so, we spent the day talking about antibiotics, we’ve talked about GMOs, we talked about steroid implant use in cattle and many different technologies cause I’m a veterinarian, I guess. But we also talked about animal care and humane animal production. And so, understanding that this is not something that’s been done in a vacuum. Understanding that we house animals indoors to prevent disease, to understand that we have spent centuries with domesticated animals to produce… with the intent to produce food. And every year we try to get things a little bit better than what we did the year before. And so, it’s a complex situation this whole food cycle and food production just explaining little bits and pieces to one or two people who are going to go out and amplify it on the internet is hugely important to me. And I’m thankful that we got the opportunity to do it. Thanks. (Nicole) Listening to Dr. Thomson today, I always like listening to him talk. He always puts things into a perspective that everyone can understand. And we work really closely with our veterinarian and have for generations on our farm and it was great to hear we are doing things right, working hard with our vets when we have sick cattle and treating them the way they need to be treated to become healthy again and productive for us.

(Meagan) And one thing that I know connected with the bloggers, Dr. Thomson said that the people that really have concerns about food are those that are poor, or those that are really rich. And then the middle class have to deal with you know, kind of the middle ground of that. And that really hit home with them and they said, “You know I’d never thought about it that way, but that’s some thing that we really should consider.” And just like when we talk about antibiotic use and GMOs that all comes down to technology and caring for crops and animals. And if you take those tools away, are we really doing anything good for us for the animals, for the crops? And so I think it kind of opened their minds a little bit to say, “Wow, maybe we should be listening to the scientists and the farmers about some of these issues that we hear a lot about.” But it might be coming from activists and not necessarily consumers, which is what a lot of folks like to say it is coming from. (Ariean) Meeting with Dr. Thomson was an eye opener for me. Having somebody who was so knowledgeable and has worked with such big names in the industry on antibiotic use in animals and how if we use antibiotics now it will help. But if we take the antibiotics out then the antibiotics are gone and we can never bring them back in order to help with things. (Jancey) Another cool thing we were able to do was we had the opportunity to tour Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, which was really cool just because when you think about a crop… when I think about a garden, I just take a seed and put it in the ground. However, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes before that seed even gets to the farmer. Just the research , the years of research and development that go into it. All the time it takes to breed the perfect seed for those farmers to plant to make the food that we consume. So we got to see a lot of the research here at Kansas Wheat and the research behind and just applying that across the crops as well. (Nicole) As a wheat producer I’m really excited about the breeding program here at Kansas Wheat because it is going to make it faster for us to improve varieties without using GMOs. (Mandy) Probably the one thing I learned that I was most surprised about today is how much research goes into producing the food that we consume. And just years and years of research goes into it. And I didn’t realize it took that long to develop the plants that we are using today. (Meagan) One other stop that we did was the Food Science Lab at K-State. We learned a lot about the things that are happening there. And again, I think it kind of opened their eyes to all the things that K-State has to offer. It’s kind of a hidden gem, especially for these folks who are from Kansas City. Didn’t even know that you could study agriculture, that that was a topic that you could study, and so bringing them here and showing them all the things that happen on K-State. And we’ve said, we could probably be here for three more days and still not cover all of it. I think it was pretty eye opening to them. And I’m excited to see what this leads to down the road because we’re not finished with them. We see this as a partnership with them. They’ve invested time in us, in our farmers. We’ve invested time in them and we we really have a partnership with them that we look forward to growing that and seeing where it goes.

(Ariean) The Farm/Food Tour has been really beneficial for me to be able to see each stage in production of food from the farmers, to the science behind it, to the next stage where we’ll just keep learning more and more. My eyes are opened each time that I come. And I never know quite what I’m going to learn. But I always learn much more than I expected. (Jancey) Today with so many people being removed from the farm, people growing up more in urban areas, people not growing up with an agriculture background, it’s really important just to kind of see where that food is coming from and see the science behind it, simply because people can have a misconception about farming. They romanticize it, what it was like when everybody had a garden and some chickens in the back yard. So, seeing just how much work and effort goes into that, to make that connection, and to see the science behind the farm was really cool just because you see how much work and effort and knowledge and research and time is just invested into the products that we eat. And it’s incredibly crucial to continue to educate the public about where their food comes from, simply because we’re removed and if only two percent of our population are farmers, the other 98 percent of us, are going to be making those decisions that will affect the two percent that grow the food. And so it’s incredibly important to educate the consumers that will ultimately make the food decision buying, in directing where they want agriculture to go. (Mandy) What I hope to bring back to the people who read my blog is to know that it’s real people and real research behind the real food that farmers are providing for us at our tables and that we’re eating on a daily basis. (Nicole) I’m really thankful for Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Soybeans for working with these non-farm based bloggers to really help them understand what we do everyday on the farm. It’s hard as a farmer to find time to even write a blog post, let alone go talk to people and host tours. So, I’m glad that they do things like this for us. (Dan) Hey, I’d like to thank the Kansas Soybean Commission. I’d like to thank the Kansas Department of Agriculture and of course, the Kansas Farm Bureau for putting us, the faculty at Kansas State University together with the Kansas City food bloggers to get and help close that last three feet, which is the greatest distance between two people, about food production in Kansas.

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