Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Putting the "Pharm" in the Farm Show

This past weekend was the Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Missouri. If you are unfamiliar with what a farm show is, I will describe it for you. A farm show is held in a large exhibition hall and it is a conglomeration of everything Ag. Several Ag companies come here to promote their products and services. There are equipment dealers, tractors on display, livestock chutes, fence companies, clothing retailers, seed companies, chemical companies, Ag magazines, GPS technology and tutorials, mowers, etc. In essence, if it is related to agriculture then it is on display at the farm show.

I have been going to farm shows since I could walk. It was a family event when I was a kid and one that was usually a lot of fun. We got to climb up in the big tractors and pretend like we were driving them, and we had fun at the displays that were catered to children. I have had the pleasure of going to a few farm shows with Adam over the years as well. Attending this event as an adult is not as much fun as it was when I was a kid. To provide a proper comparison for you, the farm show is equivalent to a woman taking her husband shopping at the mall. Usually after 30 minutes the husband has found a bench to sit on as they wait for their wives to return from snagging all of the good deals in store. The farm show is a farmer's mall, only the stuff for sale has a much higher sticker price than any article of clothing I could ever buy. A farm wife can usually go through everything in the building in about 30 minutes, but it takes the husbands at least a few hours to make it through all of the aisles of displays. They stop and chat with everyone and see what freebies the companies are handing out. They acquire a few more hats for their collection and bring home a bag full of goodies from this event.

My attendance at the farm show this year did not involve following my husband through the rows of farm machinery and sales booths. I attended the farm show as a pharmacy student and my fellow classmates and I were putting the "pharm" in the farm show by promoting Generation Rx and the Prescription Take Back program. Our booth was on display in the Health and Safety Round-Up exhibit of the farm show. In this section of the arena people could get hearing tests done, learn about farm safety, disaster preparedness, etc.

Generation Rx is the term used to describe today's youth who are using prescription drug medications to get high. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, every day approximately 2,500 young people between 12 and 17 years of age abuse prescription painkillers for the first time. America's biggest drug problem is not on the street...it's in our medicine cabinets. In fact, prescription medications abuse is the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. More Americans abuse prescription medications than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, and an astounding one in five teens abuses a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. (Taken from www.pharmacists.com) Our goal at the farm show today was to educate youth, their parents, and the elderly about the dangers of prescription medication abuse and what they can do to prevent it.

The students and faculty from UMKC were able to visit with a number of kids and adults about this issue and also how easy it is to confuse things that are safe to eat with things that can cause harm and be poisonous. We had a game set up at our booth comparing items that are safe to ingest with items that are not. The display showed how difficult it is to distinguish between the two when they are in unmarked containers. A few examples of the items being compared were sweet tarts and Tums antacids, Excedrine pills and Hot Tamales, maple syrup and motor oil, and caffeine pills and Spree candies.

Ethan, Rachel, Alaina and I in front of our booth.

A participant who was trying to distinguish
between what was a poison and what could be
safely eaten.

Rachel visiting with a couple about how easy it is to
confuse something that is safe to ingest with something
that is not and why it is important to keep medications
out of children's reach and in their properly marked

The Generation Rx display that Rachel and Alaina worked
very hard on. They did a great job, and the board provided
a lot of quick facts for people to see when they stopped by
our booth.

Adam even took a turn at the game.

Rachel, Dr. Cochran and I.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Future Farmers of America

These are the faces of the future farmers of America. Yes, they may be young, but they already have a passion for Ag that is bigger than the sky. Blake is 7 and Bryce is 11, they are our neighbors and they live on a farm as well. On their farm they raise crops but they do not have any livestock. Bryce has a Holstein bucket calf named Buster, but other than that they don't get to be around cattle very much. Bryce and Blake just LOVE cows and enjoy the opportunity to get to be around them. They come over to our house every so often and tag along with Adam as he is doing chores and checking cows. This afternoon Adam took them over to see the new baby calves and then they came back over to our house to see the steers and heifers.

Blake and Bryce posing for a picture as they climb
over the fence.
The boys trekking through the mud as they
check out the steers in the pen.

Adam warming up to the steer so the boys can pet it.

Bryce letting the steer smell his hand.

Bryce petting the steer.
Blake getting close enough to pet the steer.
Blake petting one of the steers.

Blake and Bryce watching the silage come down
from the conveyor belt.

Bryce and Blake watching the silage come out
of the Harvestore silo.

The boys leveling out the silage in the wagon.

The boys looking on as Adam finishes filling the wagon.

Bryce and Blake are from an Ag background, but raising cattle is an aspect of Agriculture they are not exposed to everyday. They ask a lot of questions and we enjoy answering them. We also enjoy the opportunity to teach them about cattle and this part of our farming operation. It amazes me how interested Bryce and Blake are about raising livestock. They absolutely love the cows and seeing the baby calves. It is great to see this passion in someone so young, and the fact they would rather be outside messing with cows instead of inside playing a computer game.

I hope Adam and I are passing on our passion of raising cattle by sharing this part of our operation with them. We hope Bryce and Blake keep their love for cattle and Agriculture as they grow up because they are the future of the industry. Their passion and excitement for cattle and Ag is contagious and it makes us want to share what we do with everyone. Bryce and Blake are the future farmers of America. As long as they keep up their passion and curious spirit for Ag, then I'm not worried one bit about where the future of our industry is headed.
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