Learning About Farming
One new facility will take kids out of the house and onto the farm.
Representatives from the Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute and Missouri Farmers Association are literally breaking ground in agricultural education. A ceremony celebrated the start of construction on the MFA Children's Barn.
"This MFA Children's Barn is intended to be a place that families and kids can come learn about the role of Missouri farm animals and livestock," Jefferson Institute Executive Director Rob Myers said.
A month from now construction will begin on a gravel lot. The new 2,400 square foot barn will house cows and sheep, which the children will be able to see in a farm environment.
MU sophomore Rachel Bartholomew knows what farm life is like.
"I grew up on a farm in Archie, Missouri and I've raised cattle and sheep my entire life," she said. "Growing up on a farm has defined who I am."
But most kids are far less familiar with farm life than Rachel.
The barn is just part of the $3.4 million Jefferson Farm and Gardens complex.
The large complex will also feature a variety of attractions including a lake, an orchard, and a quail habitat.
Myers expects more than 30,000 visitors a year when it opens.
"Probably about 10,000 of those will be school kids so we think it will be a place people will really enjoy visiting," he said.
"It's really important that children and adults alike understand that agriculture is the backbone of our country," Bartholomew said.
So next year instead of seeing a gravel lot, visitors will experience a working farm up close.
Jefferson Farms and Gardens opens next fall.