Farm to fork is a process essential to the daily lives of every individual in the world. Yet this is a process that only 2% of the United States’ population gets to directly participate in daily.

 The Redwood County Farm Bureau's “I Met a Farmer Day” works to close that gap and allow individuals of all agricultural backgrounds a chance to visit farms and learn how our food is produced. The 2024 event was held on June 25, giving over thirty participants a chance to see firsthand how farms operate and sustain our daily lives.

The event included a tour that took participants to four different farming operations and the historic Gilfillan Estate. Each stop showed a unique side of farming, from raising animals to growing crops, and how these practices are essential to the local community.

The first stop was a visit to the Kerkhoff Cattle Feedlot and Farm, home to over 3,700 head of cattle. Here, attendees learned about the high standards of Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and the conscious decisions made to provide comfort and safety for the livestock from the design of the barns to the care of the livestock.

The next stop was to the Lower Sioux Indian Community, where Joey Goodthunder broke through misconceptions and shared the uses of industrial hemp. The variation grown in this community is being used to build affordable, fire-resistant homes in the community by mixing it with limestone to make hempcrete. Currently, three homes have been built and more are on the horizon.

The third visit was to the Tiffany Family Farm, where Bruce Tiffany shared stories of living on a fourth-generation farm. Bruce gave a demonstration on the basics of crop production, from what makes up a bushel to the use of technology and cover crops. Bruce shared the conscious decisions farmers are making to sustainably care for the soil and their community. 

The final farm visit was to the Breitkreutz Cattle and Regenerative Agriculture Operation. Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz shared insights to their cow/calf operation, rotation of corn and soybeans, and their no-till cover crop system, including the process of trying and modifying farming practices to find the systems that work best for them.

The learning didn’t stop on the farm. As participants traveled from place to place, Redwood County Farm Bureau members shared their knowledge about farming basics, new technologies, and modern farming practices. The atmosphere welcomed questions from every aspect of agriculture and attendees felt engaged in the conversation whatever their background.

The “I Met a Farmer Day” is an excellent way to bring people closer to the farm, reminding us that behind every meal is a story of hard work and innovation.