South Farm Showcase celebrates 10 years

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COLUMBIA — Oct. 1 The University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources hosts the tenth annual South Farm Showcase.

Director of Resource Management, Dusty Walters said it all started because of the Dean of the college, Thomas Payne. 

“Ten years ago he brought this idea with him from Ohio, he’s the one who started it and really got it going,” Walters said.

The showcase hosts a variety of different activities for all ages. New this year is pink pumpkin decorating for breast cancer awareness and a horse plow demo.

“The children’s favorite activities always seem to be the cockroach races and mazes,” said Director of Field Operations, Tim Reinbott. 

But the South Farm Showcase is meant to be educational too. Reinbott said it’s extremely important for the public to understand what they do.

“Well the public is who we work for, everything we do is for them, and if they don’t understand what we do, how can they really support us?” Reinbott said. “So really, this is a way that we can gain support from our local community because we are in their own backyard, and most of them don’t even know what we do.”

Reinbott said agriculture is in all aspects of our lives, and the more the public understands, the more they can help.

Reinbott said the South Farm Showcase has grown immensely over the past decade. 

“We started off with a turn out of about a thousand people and only a few activities here and there,” said Reinbott.

“We really do owe a lot of it to Dean Thomas Payne, who is retiring at the end of the semester. He brought the idea here and made sure it continued to grow,” said Walters.  

Walters said the hot topic right now at CAFNR is the Monarch butterfly. Right now, they are in the research stage of the issue.

“We have to understand its flight patterns and its survivability. By doing that, we can make sure that we have Monarch butterflies for the next generation,” said Reinbott. “Right now, we only have a small fraction of what we used to have.”

Walters said they have mainly been focusing on tracing the butterfly’s migration patterns and studying milkweed, the plant which is essential to the Monarch butterfly’s survival.