The Southwest Research Center tried something a little different for its Field Day in 2016.
Southwest typically hosts its Field Day during the morning hours on a weekday. This year’s event was moved to a Saturday in the hopes of bringing in more producers and landowners, as well as more families.
The Southwest Research Center doubled its Field Day attendance from last year, bringing in nearly 400 attendees for family fun and research presentations on Saturday, Sept. 10.
“It was a really great day,” Superintendent David Cope said. “We had a lot of families out here, which was really exciting for us to see. We also had several great presentations that really showcased the variety of research taking place at the Southwest Research Center.”
Southwest added several activities for kids during this year’s event, including a grass maze, pumpkin patch and face painting station. Kids also spent a lot of time at the cannulated cow, a cow that is fitted with a cannula which allows access to the rumen. A cannula is a device surgically placed into a cow giving researchers an opening to access the cow’s rumen and its contents.
“If we can get more kids here we can educate more of the youth, which is one of our goals,” Cope said. “We had a ton of kids at the cannulated cow, and they wouldn’t have been here during a normal weekday Field Day.”
Another new feature of this year’s Field Day was airplane rides, using the airstrip on the Southwest Center’s property. Several local pilots provided the rides.
“That’s not something that every Research Center has,” Cope said. “We’re certainly grateful for the folks who came out here and provided that service.”
The tours and presentations were also packed throughout the day. Tour stops included looks at beef, pollinators, horticulture, dairy, agronomy, farm technology and small ruminants. Nearly 20 speakers were featured at the Field Day.
“That’s what makes a Field Day such a great event,” Cope said. “We offer a variety of information from a wide selection of speakers, who are each experts in their subject matter.”
The Southwest Research Center Field Day also hosted the Missouri Soil Health Expo during its Field Day.
Several sponsors were present at the Field Day as well. Southwest had three times as many sponsors as last year’s Field Day.
“We couldn’t have our Field Day without those sponsors,” Cope said. “Jendel Wolfe (office support assistant) did a phenomenal job of going out into the community and talking with our local businesses. Those sponsors have been instrumental in allowing us to provide new things, such as our pumpkin patch and grass maze.”
For a closer look at the Southwest Research Center Field Day, visit flickr.com/photos/cafnr/albums/72157670499354033.