FAM – September 2, 2015
Our first stop was the Colorado Model Railroad Museum, 680-10th Street, Greeley, CO, where RMGA member Michelle Kempema is Executive Director. Here, we received a packet of material promoting Greeley, population: 1000,00. If the photo calendar had not been labeled Colorado Model Railroad Museum, one would think the trains pictured were historic photos of the full sized train taken in mountains, on wooden trestles and along rivers. The 5,500 square-foot layout features more than 28,000 handmade pine and deciduous trees. Up to 14 model trains, controlled by the dispatchers, can be running at once along these train tracks! Every locomotive the Museum obtains is upgraded with a computer chip and conditioned to look circa 1975. Details, even to blinking lights on police cars, bring the exhibit to life. We also were given a peek at the behind-the-scenes switching yards.
Michelle led the way tour next stop, the United States Department of Agriculture
Limited Irrigation Research Farm, (USDA/LIRF), where agriculture engineer
Kendal DeJonge with Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, CO
(main campus), introduced us to irrigation studies LIRF is conducting with
sunflower and corn crops. Looking at how farmers can get more "crop per drop"
the researchers are questioning, "How much can we stress crops by withholding
water without greatly affecting production? When, in the growing season,
is best to cut back, and when should water be increased?" The 40-acre Research
Farm is divided into "96 plots, 12 rows wide", which received different specific
treatments with drip irrigation and fertilizers and are extensively monitored.
Agriculture students from Colorado State University assist with the Research Farm.
We visited the Greeley Chamber of Commence where "munchies" and a taste of "Fairlife" milk awaited us. Fairlife milk is an ultra-filtered mil with less sugar, lactose free, and produced by a dairy conglomerate. It can be found at your local grocery store.
At the chamber, we met Weston McCary, Faculty member, Aims Community College. His presentation dealt with the use of "Precision Agriculture" or "Agricultural Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, and Computer-Aided Design Systems" in making agriculture-interesting! Fun Fact--in the 1960s, America had 36 million dairy cattle; today, its 9 million cows producing 60% more milk. Colorado has 148,00 dairy cows; each gives 100 pounds of milk daily and contributes $23,000 in economic benefits. Leprino Foods headquarters in Denver, is so efficient, the milk enters the factory and six hours later exits as Mozzarella Cheese. "Precision Agriculture" is combining information technology with agriculture. This includes data collection, data analysis, and informed management decisions. For example: using GPS and aerial photography, one can input the data from a field into a geographic information system that maps a farmer's field, showing areas of productive crops with good moisture and fertilization, and placing to centimeter accuracy on crops that need the extra moisture and fertilization rather that spraying the whole field. This reduces waste and increases the yield. Remote sensing can detect moisture levels, insect damage, plant disease, and weeds.
Visit Greeley graciously provided lunch at Stockman's Café next to the Producers Livestock Marketing Association facility. We also toured the auction arena where we were told, "Don't raise a hand unless you want to buy a cow!"
After lunch, we visited Hungenberg Produce Company, founded in 1907, where we learned about carrots. This multigenerational-family-owned company raises cabbages in addition to carrots on 4,000 acres. Our tour there was given by Jordon Hungenberg. Hungenberg is one of five companies in the county (U.S.) which produces mini-carrots, processing 500,000 pounds of carrots daily from the field to packaging each batch in 30-45 minutes. We watched the mechanized washing and transferring by conveyor belts to inspection and packaging by employees. Fun Fact: carrots are planted at 25 carrots per foot; germination is 99% of the seed. It takes two-acre feet of water to grow a carrot. Soil is cultivated several times yearly to keep the soil loose so carrots grow straight down; harvesting machines "lop" off the tops which are returned to the soil.
Our last stop of the day was Centennial Village where Scott Chartier, dressed as a turn of-the-century gentleman, with top hat, led the tour. We were accompanied by Sara Lester, Education Coordinator, and Kim Overholt, Marketing Director/Tour Coordinator. the village tells Weld county/Greeley history in three main sections: Prairie & Centennial Decade, 1866-1876; Agriculture & Immigrants, 1870-1940; and The Developing west, 1880-1930. The 8-acres "living history museum" features more than 35 unique structures, costumed interpreters, heritage farm animals, landscaped grounds and a shady area for group picnics. Each year in April, a Greeley Passport, valid for the year, is available at one price for the City's museums; Centennial village, Greeley Museum, Nathan Meeker Home Museum, and the new white Plumb Farm, the latter to be a small "working" or agriculture farm, and the Greeley's Colorado Model Railroad Museum.
--- Carol Carder
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Greeley/Weld County Agri FAM
What: Greeley/Weld County Agri FAM Tour Itinerary
When: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
FAM Organizer: Michelle Kempema
Welcome to the Greeley/Weld County Agri FAM tour! Agri tours are increasing in popularity. On this FAM you will witness how farm products are processed and learn the value of Agri tours. All of the attractions we are visiting are complimentary.
Note: There is some walking on this FAM so wear comfortable shoes. We will be walking on farm properties where there might be uneven terrain and inclines. Registrants will receive information at a later date about meals, costs and tipping.
8:15-8:45 a.m. – Meet for carpooling at the Park & Ride lot in Thornton (at I-25 & 120th, west side of the freeway). Carpool drivers will receive driving directions and passengers at this time.
8:45.m. – Depart for the Colorado Model Railroad Museum.. Location: 680 – 10th Street, Greeley. Phone: 970-392-2934.
9:45-10:15 a.m. – Tour Colorado Model Railroad Museum
10:30-11:30 a.m. – Tour USDA Agricultural Research Station. Location: 30900 CR 45, Greeley. Phone: 970-492-7419.
Presentation by Kendall DeJong.
11:45a.m.-12:45p.m. – Greeley Chamber of Commerce Presentation. Location: 902 – 7th Avenue, Greeley. Phone: 970-352-3566.
Presentation by Weston McCary, Faculty Aims Community College on Agricultural Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems and Computer Aided Design Systems.
1:00-1:45 p.m. – Lunch at Stockman’s Café and tour of sales arena floor. Location: Producers Livestock Marketing Association, 711 “O” Street, Greeley. Phone: 970-353-4121. LUNCH IS COMPLIMENTARY THANKS TO VISIT GREELEY!
2:00-3:00 p.m. – Tour of Hungenberg Produce Company carrot facility. Location: 31466 WCR 39 ½ , Greeley, 80631. Phone: 970-352-2787.
3:15-4:00 p.m. – Tour of Centennial Village Museum. Location: 1475 A Street, Greeley. Phone: 970-350-9220.
4:00 p.m. – Depart for home