Fun on the Farm

Family friendly South Farm Showcase highlights the agriculture bounty of autumn

south farm showcase_09212013_0123The annual South Farm Showcase has grown to one of the largest agriculture-related events in Central Missouri. Each year, thousands tour the center.

September brings the beginning of fall, football, festivals and more importantly — harvest season. With cornhusks ready to gather, plump pumpkins dotting the fields and ripe apples prime for picking, the autumn season is the perfect time to get out on a farm.

For the eighth year, South Farm Research Center will be hosting the South Farm Showcase on Sept. 27. Admission is free and events are scheduled for the whole family from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m at the center south of Columbia operated by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) at the University of Missouri.

south farm showcase_09212013_0315Exhibits will be set up across South Farm, offering visitors a chance to milk a cow, pet a goat, get face-to-face with reptiles, play with a baby pig, talk with a falconer and watch a parade of horses and mule team. Several educational opportunities also will be around throughout the day for homeowners and landowners from gardening tips to energy-efficient ideas for the home.

Enjoy the lush grass fields managed by staff and students while taking a run around the bases at the turf farm’s baseball field or sinking a putt on the golf greens. MU turf specialists also will be on hand to answer questions and offer ways to make your lawn the best in the neighborhood.

Experts from the MU Master Gardener Program also will be available to chat with the public about common plant problems, the right plants for the right spot and any other questions aspiring green thumbs may have. MU forestry specialists also will be on hand demonstrating a log-cutting sawmill and available to answer any arboreal questions.

For information about what is going on under the surface of yard, bring in a small soil sample from your garden or property. MU specialists will be on hand to perform soil health analysis and for $10 provide a test of your soil and give management recommendations.

Safety around the home is something every family should worry about. Representatives from the Boone County and Columbia fire department will have a safe house that shows what proper emergency preparation is needed.

Insect lovers will get a chance to see who is the fastest at the cockroach races or catch field insects of their own with the help of MU entomology specialists. Insect talk got you hungry? Then try one of the cooked and flavored insects prepared by the MU Entomology Club.

The Midwest has been known for its rollercoaster-like weather patterns. The team of meteorology experts from KOMU will be a part of the Showcase’s Main Street tent to share information about our weather and what future forecasts look like.

Also at Main Street will be a chance to savor Missouri-made wines at the Missouri Department of Agriculture booth. Information about grape growing and wine production will be available at the MU Grape and Wine Institute.

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Earlier in September, MU’s nearby Bradford Research Center hosted its annual Tomato Festival with more than 250 tomatoes and peppers to sample. The party continues at this year’s Showcase in Main Street with locally grown vegetables.

Additional tents will be set up with food and drinks available for purchase including CAFNR’s own Buck’s Ice Cream featuring the popular Tiger Stripe flavor.

If looking to get into the fall spirit, make your way out of the corn maze or purchase a pumpkin. Floral displays and decorations from the MU Tiger Garden also will be available for purchase.

Each year, CAFNR sponsors the South Farm Showcase as an opportunity for the public to find out what research goes on in their community.

south farm showcase_09212013_0455Five miles south of the MU campus, South Farm supports the research, outreach and teaching missions of animal, plant and veterinary sciences as well as biology, botany and other disciplines. South Farm is the location of several research facilities including the Swine Research Center, Beef Research and Teaching Center, Turfgrass Research Center and Equine Teaching Facility. It also supports research and demonstration projects in entomology, poultry and maize genetics. The Missouri Foundation Seed program uses South Farm to increase the available quantity of newly developed seed varieties to dealers. Easy access from the MU campus allows South Farm to be used for hands-on teaching to more than 1,500 students annually and is the location for numerous graduate student research projects.

South Farm Research Center is located on New Haven Road one-quarter mile east of the AC/Grindstone exit off Highway 63 in southeast Columbia. For more information call 573-882-4450 or visit the center’s new website at for detailed directions and other events and research happening at South Farm.

South Farm is one of CAFNR’s Agricultural Research Centers located throughout Missouri that host educational workshops. Visit for more events located across the Show-Me State.

To download press-quality photos from last year’s South Farm Showcase, visit CAFNR’s Flickr site at Photos of South Farm Research Center can be found at

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