Feeding a growing world population is a challenge being addressed on many fronts - from seed companies to farmers, to processors and everyone in between. To help consumers and farmers alike understand the process of increasing our food supply - the America’s Farmers Mobile Experience has been launched.
The mobile experience is a 53-foot trailer that opens into a three room - one thousand square foot display. Tom Hoogheem describes it as three acts:
“Number one, it focuses on how fast the population is increasing, well, like say in the next 40 years, we’re going to have another 2 billion, in addition to the 7 billion we have already. Then act two, we show, what I think is a beautiful video about a farm family in northern Missouri, and they talk about what it’s like to be a farm family today, and how they’re going to try to grow more food to meet the food demand. Then, we get to act three, and we talk more about technology that the farmer is asking us to develop so that they have the opportunity to grow more food on the same amount of land with less input.”
Hoogheem is an ag educator. During a recent stop in Iowa, Hoogheem led several groups of students through the mobile experience. He says the tour holds young people's attention:
“Almost all of them seem to be listening, and they do ask a few questions. Today, we’ve had a biology class and an anatomy class, which is kind of different, and an awful lot of FFA kids. So, FFA is very interested, because they see their folks using this kind of technology and the new science every day.”
Hoogheem stresses science education and careers in agriculture to the students:
“It’s just phenomenal the opportunities that exist in agriculture, and it’s not just farming. A lot of it is technology, we’re using, biologists, we’re using microbiologists, we’re using engineers, in addition to the classic ag jobs, which would be more like agronomy and farm management.”
The America's Farmers Mobile Experience was introduced at the Commodity Classic last month and has only made a few stops so far. Tours are free and open to anyone - so look for it to stop at a community near you.