South Farm Showcase features record crowd

Most of the events appealed to children and families.
Children play inside of the MU Hydrogen Car Team's car, TigerGen II. The team is currently working on TigerGenIII, an updated version of this car.

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources hosted its fifth annual South Farm Showcase on Saturday. The showcase exhibits a variety of student projects, university programs and child-friendly activities such as face-painting and pumpkin-decorating.

Most participants were young children and their families. There were more than a dozen booths set up. Children made their way through a hay bale maze while more adventurous ones went into the fully-grown corn maze. Families enjoyed the putting green, miniature soccer field, croquet course and beanbag toss.

With the exceptions of food and hot air balloon rides, the event was completely free.

One of the attractions with the largest audience was the trained dogs demonstration. In one of the acts, two herding dogs corralled a small group of sheep into a pen, responding to the signals given to them by their owner, Danny Shilling.

“These dogs know their right and left, and they know my signals,” Shilling said.

Ten-year-old Delma, a Brazilian dog, was Schilling's main herder. The second dog, Hannah, had quite a few stitches on her neck from where a cow had injured her two weeks ago, a testament to how dangerous herding can be for the dogs.

There were no injuries during the dogs’ performances, and they successfully herded three ducks through a series of obstacles.

Visitors to the South Farm Showcase could also take a 10-minute hayride to a small petting zoo where children could play with horses, cows, sheep and pigs. The Raptor Rehabilitation Project also made a presentation that included a red-tailed hawk, a great horned owl and a turkey vulture, among others, all of which are permanent residents of the facility. Spectators were able to get within feet of birds they normally only see from a distance.

Appealing to the more academic event goers was a variety of student groups and projects, such as the MU Hydrogen car team. MU’s car, TigerGen II, won an international hydrogen car competition in the Urban Concept Division category this year.

The team also won the Best Team Spirit award. Weighing in at 350 pounds, its efficiency is fuel equivalent to 476 miles per gallon. TigerGen II will be soon be replaced by TigerGen III, team member Victoria Hezel said.

“It will look more like a sports car, not a Volkswagen Bug,” she said.

Hezel also said the team hopes to increase TigerGen III’s fuel efficiency to be the equivalent of 500 miles per gallon.

Other booths had presentations on agronomy, water purity and conservation, a tornado simulator, tomato tasting and even wine tasting. The Agronomy Club had demonstrations of a working sawmill every half hour. Members also showed off their skills in woodcutting and sawing with a two-man wood saw.

Event organizer Donna Thomas said CAFNR funds the entire event, though donations help cover some of the costs. Thomas said they had their best turnout to date this year.

“We probably had three or four thousand people show up,” she said.

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