FAIR OAKS, IN
Land O'Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, hosted Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about taking the conversation about food and agriculture beyond the field, the future of farming as an industry, demystifying the modern farmer, and ensuring continued access to food — a basic human right.
'The challenge of feeding a growing global population, coupled with the availability of more and better technology than ever before, makes food and agriculture one of the most exciting and rewarding career fields for young people today,' said Secretary Vilsack. 'I applaud Land O'Lakes for broadening the conversation around the innovation and entrepreneurship that are at the heart of modern American agriculture, giving the rest of us a glimpse into the dynamic industry that keeps our nation food secure.'
During the broadcast, Land O'Lakes President and CEO Chris Policinski discussed the need for a more robust discussion about modern farming. As evidenced by findings from a survey of young people across the country, new research highlights the need for a more inclusive and transparent dialogue — particularly with non-farming youth and their families.
Notably, the survey of 500 teens found only 15 percent of respondents consider farmers to be technologically advanced. Additionally, 64 percent do not know anyone who works in agriculture, further illustrating the need to connect families who are sitting at the table with farmers who produce the food.
'We're pulling back the curtain on modern farming to share the story of farmers and facilitate a more robust dialogue around food and agriculture,' said Policinski. 'We need to excite and engage people in a broader discussion about what it takes to produce the food needed to feed a growing global population. It's important that we demystify the work of farmers and our industry for the 98 percent of Americans who don't have a direct connection to where their food comes from.'
This broadcast coincides with the unveiling of the WinField Crop Adventure, an experiential exhibit designed for students ages 8-12 years old and their families that celebrates modern farming and illustrates the innovation and entrepreneurialism at the core of agriculture. Joining Sec. Vilsack and Policinski to discuss the WinField Crop Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms was Indiana Governor Mike Pence, WinField COO Mike Vande Logt and Mike McCloskey, co-founder of Fair Oaks Farms.
In honor of the recently completed WinField Crop Adventure, industry leaders and public officials will also gather today for a day-long celebration of modern farming (a full schedule is included below). As visitors tour the new exhibit, they will learn not only about the history of farming, but today's farming practices and how agriculture might look in the future.
'The WinField Crop Adventure, developed in partnership with Fair Oaks Farms, is one way Land O'Lakes and WinField are sharing the important and meaningful work done by farmers, and fueling ideas and innovation to feed the growing population,' said Vande Logt. 'The Crop Adventure dives in to the innovative practices in precision agriculture, technology and sustainability and connects them to people's everyday lives.'
Young farmers, like 15-year-old Kelly Irvine, a seventh-generation teen farmer recognized nationally for her research focused on women in farming and agriculture, are becoming increasingly rare. Irvine will visit the WinField Crop Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms and join the Fields of the Future broadcast to talk about her hopes for farming and how she encourages youth to learn more as well.
'As we celebrate Indiana's bicentennial year and our rich 200-year history, we are reminded that at our core, Indiana is agriculture,' said Governor Mike Pence. 'WinField Crop Adventure showcases Indiana's continued advancements in agricultural production and is an unmatched opportunity for Hoosiers to celebrate how farming and agriculture continue to play a pivotal role in the future of our communities. I'm thankful for the work of Fair Oaks Farms as they lead by example to inform and engage Hoosiers of all ages on Indiana's role in the field of agriculture.'
The exhibit provides a history of farming and explores the journey of a crop in highly educational but approachable exhibits. The experience completes with a look into the future of farming and an invitation for ideas from all visitors.
The WinField Crop Adventure joins The Dairy Adventure and The Pig Adventure, which are already available to guests of Fair Oaks Farms. At each exhibit, visitors can explore family farms and gain a deeper understanding of the role agriculture plays in peoples' lives