AUSTIN — A growing disconnect between urban and rural America has Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) expanding its reach and raising agricultural awareness.
The state’s largest general farm and ranch organization will help a new agricultural literacy wing soar at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock through a $100,000 contribution.
“Many families are several generations removed from agriculture, and that makes it even more important for us to communicate the significant impact farmers and ranchers have on our food, fiber and fuel supply,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “The literacy wing will help us explain the role agriculture plays in the lives of Texans.”
The museum hopes to turn the tide in agricultural awareness with the new wing, AgWorks.
The 4,500 square-foot space will encompass interactive exhibits that employ all the senses. From a large animal vet clinic and water table focused on agriculture to observation silos, facts about GMOs and a crop cycle exhibit, the wing will be a real ag-venture.
The area is designed for children in fourth grade or younger but is also an entertaining and educational experience for families.
“Consumer audiences are hungry for more information about agriculture—the way food is grown and the farm and ranch families who make it all possible,” Boening said. “An adventure into the wide world of agriculture is a great place to start. It can help spark more questions and an understanding for what we, as farmers and ranchers, do.”
The Bayer Museum of Agriculture is well established and has a long-standing history of promoting agriculture, TFB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Si Cook said.
“Our relationship with the museum and their year-round, consistent efforts to interact with the public on agriculture helps Texas Farm Bureau further increase agricultural awareness,” he said. “Agriculture is a major influence in our state, and we’re proud to help showcase the history and importance.”
The museum hopes to raise funds and begin construction on the wing in the next two to three years, according to museum executive director Lacee Hoelting.
“The total project is $3.5 million with about $1.2 of that being specifically for exhibits and the rest of the building itself, which will also house the Becknell Classroom, a Cotton Heritage Gallery, archives, educational director office and rotating exhibit space,” Hoelting said.
About one-third of the funds have been raised, according to Hoelting.
“It will be a great overview of agriculture,” Hoelting said. “It will have some region-specific items like an exhibit focused on cotton production. The story barn will allow us to offer programming on all types of agriculture.”
It’s one of the many ways the organization reaches out to consumer audiences.
TFB also partners with schools for Planting the Seed demonstrations, Ag in the Classroom activities with the mobile learning barns and Planet Agriculture at the livestock shows and fairs across the state.
“We continue to make investments in agriculture and our farmers and ranchers,” Boening said. “This contribution to the Bayer Museum of Agriculture will only amplify our reach, and that’s what we need, now more than ever.”
The Bayer Museum of Agriculture is a non-profit museum funded through annual memberships, grants, donations and event rentals. To learn more about the museum and how to become a member, visitwww.agriculturehistory.org.
—Texas Farm Bureau
For more articles out of Texas, click here.