Golf tournament and farm tour a success for Santa Fe Agri-Leaders

Monday, August 22, 2011

A golf course isn't the first place you would look for a group of Missouri Young Farmer's, but on Wednesday August 4th, that's exactly where you would've found most of them from the Lafayette County Chapter.

The Santa Fe Agri-Leaders hosted its First Annual Golf Classic at Indian Foothills Golf Course. The tournament started at 9 a.m. with 16 three-man teams participating.

"You couldn't have asked for a better day to golf," said Brittany Hemme, adult agriculture education advisor for the Agri-Leaders. The excessive heat earlier in the week gave concern to the number of golfers they might have, but the day of the tournament started out cool and a little rainy. Hemme says they are happy with the attendance for their first year.

"It was a great group of people; everyone came from some form of agriculture so it was a fun day of camaraderie."

Day two of the chapter's activities included a mini-crop tour. The participants enjoyed a continental breakfast before loading the bus to head to Carrollton. Show-Me Ethanol was the first stop. A walking tour led them through the plant so they could see the entire process of ethanol production.

The group traveled down the road to visit Edwards Seed Treatment as the second stop of the tour. Brian Edwards gave a tour of his new facilities and answered questions about different treatments and planting options. Returning to Alma, lunch was served at the Agri-Leaders annual Field Day and Plot Tour. Representatives from all eight seed companies participating in the Plot were present. Scholarship recipients Bailey Conner, Ross Tieman, and Sam Peters were present to receive their checks.

The last half of the tour headed to Heins Family Farms. The State Tour held in 2009 visited the dairy farm when it was still under construction; the dairy is now a fully operational facility milking over 500 cows twice a day. Paul, Cindy, and Chris Heins explained the operation and answered questions.

The final stop of the mini tour was Fahrmeier Family Farms and Vineyards. Brent Fahrmeier began by showing the group twelve high tunnels that housed over two acres of tomatoes, and then led them through the packing building where the tomatoes are washed, sorted and packed for delivery.

He talked about their plans for focusing mainly on tomatoes instead of additional vegetables and the improvements they want to make to the tomato growing and packing process. Brandon Fahrmeier gave the wine tour, leading the group through the bottling and fermenting building. He talked about the various wines they make and their plans for making improvements to the winery side of the family business as well. Supper was followed by a wine tasting, the evening ended on the patio where everyone got a chance to visit and relax before they returned to Alma.

The Agri-Leaders realize that state funding for their program may never resume. The efforts to keep a full time advisor and an active chapter going have been met for the 2010-11 year, however a new school year is about to start and they have begun the process all over again. They feel that there is a need for a program like theirs now more than ever.

"Agriculture is an ever changing industry, one of our goals as a chapter is to keep young people involved and interested as well as to keep all farmers educated in the latest techniques and advances of ag," says Hemme.

The Agri-Leaders host various informational programs, including weekly educational guest speakers during the winter months, as well as the annual Global Agriculture Symposium in January.

Submitted by the Santa Fe Agri-Leaders