An Up-Close Agriculture Experience at Threemile Canyon Farms

While many people have never held a Colorado Potato Beetle or felt the inside of a cow’s stomach as it digests its food, Morrow County residents had the unique opportunity to experience both during the Threemile Canyon Farms 4-H Field Day.

For the seventh year in a row, local students and their families got an up-close agricultural experience at the farm.

The event was well-attended by almost 100 individuals, including both Morrow County 4-H members and Threemile employees with children. The field day aims to showcase our work on the farm and highlight opportunities in the agriculture industry.

Dr. Jeff Wendler, General Manager of Livestock, kicked off the day by providing an overview of our operation and our animal welfare program. Visitors were then grouped by age and began rotating through stations set up by team members.

The stations at the field day included:

  • Fernando Madrigal, Threemile Zone Supervisor, brought bags filled with a variety of grain seeds that we grow each year. Visitors had the opportunity to see what alfalfa, corn, oats, triticale, grasses, and soft white wheat seeds look like. He then explained how the grains we cultivate are used as cattle feed or contribute to the global food supply.
  • Dr. Ryan Wedam, veterinarian, had a display showcasing calf anatomy and common diseases that can affect cattle. He described the signs and symptoms he looks for and how he prevents sickness in our herd.
  • Brian Bither, Engineer and Control System Supervisor, designed an irrigation table displaying various pieces of irrigation equipment along with a section of 72-inch mainline that supplies water to all areas of the farm.
  • Dr. Ehrin Dawson, on-staff Nutritionist, and Jolie Dickerson, who is on the feed team, had a display on animal nutrition. Students could see and feel cattle digestion in action with a fistulated cow, a cow with a medical device called a cannula implanted in its rumen, one of the five stomachs cattle have.
  • Jeddy Aylette, Director of Operations, displayed the different stages of blueberry plant growth, explained how they are harvested, and shared some trivia. He also discussed the vital role that bees play in our blueberry orchard.
  • Dr. Adlai Schuler, Director of Livestock Operations, created a reproduction display. At his table, he explained the reproduction cycle of a cow and her gestation length, emphasizing how reproduction is one of the key drivers of herd productivity.
  • Lacy Phelps, Zone Manager, brought grape plants and showcased grafted vines, a propagation method where tissues of plants are joined to continue growth, the top called the scion, and the lower part called the rootstock. During the presentation, he discussed why grape plants are grafted and highlighted their crucial role that process plays in mitigating common diseases and pests.
  • Nick Benavdies, Director of Agronomy, and Andrew Zellers, Agronomy Intern, showcased our potato processes from seed to harvest. They also discussed common pests, like the Colorado Potato Beetle and diseases that affect potatoes and explained our management strategies.
  • Dr. Brittany Casperson, Maternity Manager, and Ariana Olmos, Dairy Intern, created a display discussing calf fetal development and calving. They explained how calves initiate the labor process and how to recognize when assistance is needed for the mother.

After visitors had explored each station, they enjoyed lunch, and then it was time for trivia. To test their knowledge, each table posed a trivia question related to their discussion. One of the questions that was asked was how long a blueberry bush can live. Hands quickly shot up with excitement to answer the question. The event concluded after the exhilarating round of trivia questions.

“This is one of our favorite days of the year. The opportunity to talk about the things we do here at Threemile, our animal welfare program, and connect with our community is something we look forward to year after year. Our team does a fantastic job creating displays relating to their area of expertise. We want to thank everyone for coming out and participating in this great event. ” -Dr. Jeff Wendler, General Manager of Livestock