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2017’s Discovery, Roundup boost public’s appreciation for agriculture

2017’s Discovery, Roundup boost public’s appreciation for agriculture

Father, son and daughter look through microscope at Ag Discovery Day

Two annual College of Agriculture events that put the spotlight on agriculture in general and Alabama agriculture in particular drew a combined 5,300-plus attendees on back-to-back hot-and-humid Saturdays in September.

More than 3,000 of those folks—3,001, to be exact—traveled from across central Alabama to the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter Sept. 23 for the sixth annual Ag Discovery Adventure. The record-setting crowd enjoyed activities that ranged from peanut digging and cotton picking to GPS-guided hayrides and a corn maze to cooking demonstrations and pumpkin decorating.

Dale Monks, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Director of Research, helped to organize this year’s event and was pleased with the record attendance and wide interest in the attractions aimed at educating the public about the Alabama farm and its products including their uses, production methods, and the impact they have on the economy and consumer’s daily lives.

“Many people who attend have never visited a farm and are surprised that peanuts grow underground, that corn has to be shelled and ground up, that cotton is machine-picked and has to be ginned to be spun into cloth, and that honey bees are not just for honey but are critical pollinators for many vegetable crops,” he says. “We feel if we have helped someone learn more about how food and fiber are produced on the farm and how we conduct field research, then we have succeeded.”

Success of the event is evident as adventure-goers gave high marks to the free event. As one attendee posted on Ag Discovery’s Facebook page, “We had four generations of our family there today, and every last one of us had a blast! Thank you so very much for all the hard work that goes into this event. It is very educational and just plain fun.”

Ag Discovery Adventure is co-hosted by the College of Agriculture, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and AAES.

On the previous Saturday, Sept. 16, more than 2,300 people who were on the Auburn campus for homecoming 2017 made their way to Ag Heritage Park to sample the dozens of Alabama-grown and/or -processed food products featured at the 38th annual Ag Roundup. In addition to food, Ag Roundup offers a number of children’s activities as well as live and silent auctions and informational exhibits.

The three-hour pre-game tailgate party, sponsored by the College of Agriculture and the Auburn Agricultural Alumni Association, wrapped up an hour before the homecoming football game between the Auburn Tigers and the Mercer University Bears.

Laura Cauthen