Twenty five high school students from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas and Fort Osage High School in Independence, Missouri had the exclusive opportunity to visit not one but three Cass County agricultural production operations on Thursday, March 12th. The event was coordinated by Tammy Bartholomew, Information and Education Specialist of Seba Bros Farms, Inc. The objective of the field day was to provide urban students with a farm experience and make the food connection from field to plate.
Students started their day with a breakfast stop at Seba Bros. Farms. Seba team members introduced students to their roles and responsibilities in producing feed grains for the livestock industry. The tour began with an introduction to sprayers by Operations Manager D.J. Bowman who explained the spray application process and why we spray crops. Will Urton explained the planting equipment while Justin Wehmeyer and Austin Crouse, Field Manager, demonstrated the process from harvest to grain storage. Students were given demonstrations on how the equipment worked and how they make production efficient.
Dreamland Ranch and manager Dennis Deel was the second stop for these high school students. Mr. Deel gave a brief introduction to the operation. Matt Drake, Sales Representative with Select Sires spoke about beef breeding management and the utilization of artificial insemination for improvement of livestock for the Dreamland Beef operation. The students toured their indoor cattle working facilities equipped with a vet lab and were able to look at a pen of Angus bulls.
Phillips Family Farms provided the students with a very rare and insightful tour into the farrowing and nursery operations of their facility. Students got to witness piglets being born as well as witnessed first- hand how clean and spacious the pig nursery was. The Phillips family graciously allowed students to hold the pigs as employees were available to answer the students’ questions. Following the tour, the students were treated to a meal of pulled pork, potato casserole, baked beans, homemade rolls, cobbler made from fruit from the small orchard on the farm and homemade ice cream. During the meal the students were able to listen to Nathan Phillips, third generation pig farmer who spoke about his role on the farm since completing his degree from Kansas State University. Nathan is in charge of the rebreeding program which included artificially inseminating 102 sows weekly. Other presenters included Raymond McLanahan, Vice-President of Landmark National Bank in Louisburg who spoke about his background in agriculture and his role in agriculture as a banker. Matt Moreland of Moreland Dairy Farms visited with the students about his vision for the future of the family dairy operation which included a new business plan for the farm that would add a robotic milking system and a learning center to their operation. Matt’s enthusiasm for agriculture is contagious and the students enjoyed listening to his goals for their farm.
Tylor West from Fort Osage commented regarding Phillips Family Farms, “Their operation was nicely run. The barns were clean and they protected their animals. I don’t think the way they are confined is bad. The animal has everything needed to survive. They showed us quality level care while still being efficient.” Fellow classmate McKayla Fellers realized from the Dreamland Ranch tour that using unnecessary antibiotics only increases costs. Farmers would not want to use anything on their food that they wouldn’t want to ingest themselves.

Bartholomew stated that the ultimate goal of the agricultural field day was to help urban students understand the importance and efficiency of American Agriculture, to learn firsthand about the safety of their food supply, and to get a feel for the agricultural concept of field to plate.

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