Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) was a free public event in Northwest Ohio to educate rural and urban consumers about modern dairy production practices. A regional ban on drinking water in August 2014 affected >400,000 people in NW Ohio and SE Michigan. Media blamed local agricultural production practices for increased phosphorus levels that created an algal bloom and harmful levels of microcystin in Lake Erie waters. BOTF was developed in cooperation with Sandland Dairy Farm to raise public awareness about modern agricultural practices by offering an intimate look at the farm, the farm family, and the methods used to produce a wholesome, safe food supply through livestock, land and environmental stewardship. Nearly 3,000 individuals from 12 states and 20 OH counties participated in 17 interactive educational stations including open tours of the barns, milking parlor, a wagon tour, a free breakfast, and conversation opportunities with the host family. Educational stations addressed production, human and legal risks on the farm, including biosecurity, personal safety practices for on-farm grain bin facilities, animal well-being and handling, machinery safety, milk quality and food safety, soil health, manure management, and livestock mortality composting. Nearly 60% of attendees who completed a survey (n=568) had never visited a working dairy farm or attended an event like BOTF. Levels of trust increased for attendees in multiple areas, including that farmers will care for the environment and their animals, and that farmers protect water quality.
|2016 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference