COLUMBIA Mo. – One of the University of Missouri’s most important research centers, South Farm, will host a day of science and discovery for the entire family. A tornado tracking truck, cockroach races, tethered hot air balloon rides and prize pepper tasting are just a few of the myriad interactive attractions at the event.

The sixth annual South Farm Showcase will take place Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the MU South Farm, one-quarter mile east of Highway AC/Grindstone Parkway off Highway 63.

The event is sponsored by the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). South Farm is a 1,452-acre research, teaching and extension center where researchers study improvements in swine, beef, sheep and crop production. Research is also conducted in alternative fuels, turfgrass, agroforestry and equine care. More than 1,500 MU students get firsthand knowledge in these areas each year.

This year’s showcase features numerous activities to educate and entertain attendees ages 2 to 102. Kids will love corn and straw bale mazes, cockroach races, an exotic-animal petting zoo, rides from the MU Mule Team, painting pumpkins (while supplies last), sawmill and forestry demonstrations, soccer and golf, milking a cow and more.

A weather truck designed to track tornadoes, the Doppler on Wheels (DOW), will be spinning and tracking weather at the Showcase. The DOW is the next generation of high-resolution/high-speed weather radar. It’s used to image precise wind motion within the vortex of a tornado. Neil Fox, associate professor in the department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, and his students will explain how the technology works.

Attendees can test their knowledge of Missouri’s agriculture through games and learn about the diverse crops grown here and the research CAFNR conducts to advance agricultural science. They can also sample food from CAFNR’s learning laboratories: Buck’s Ice Cream, Tiger Tail brats and burgers will be available for purchase. Attendees can sample Missouri wines and learn about the university’s research impacting the growing viticulture industry, from evaluating rootstock to marketing the finished product.

“Each year we aspire to provide engaging activities for the entire family while sharing some of the latest research advancements across CAFNR,” said John Poehlmann, assistant director of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station.

South Farm supports the research, outreach and teaching missions of animal science, plant science, veterinary science, biology, botany, biochemistry and other disciplines for both the University of Missouri and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The farm is home to the Swine Research Complex, the Beef Research and Teaching Farm, the Turf Center, and the Horse Farm. The farm also supports research and demonstration projects in entomology, poultry and maize genetics.

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CAFNR is changing the core components of society that impact what we eat, where we live and how we’ll face tomorrow. As the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, we are at the forefront of research and education, working toward global sustainability.

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