Annual ‘Day on the Farm’ event set for Aug. 20 at Duerksen/Knepp farmstead

Instead of sitting in front of the television watching a reality show that seems anything but real, area residents can enjoy a real reality show and have fun with their children.

This year’s “Day on the Farm” event is planned for Saturday, Aug. 20, at the real farm of Carol Duerksen and Maynard Knepp, 3 miles north, 4 miles east, 1/2 mile north of Goessel.

Activities, which run continuously from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include pig-catching by children, goat-tending, horseback riding, tractor wagon rides and a branding-iron demonstration.

Other scheduled events include goat-milking and a children’s story at 12:45 p.m.

A meal will be served at 11:30 a.m.

The purpose of Day on the Farm is to build connections between rural and urban families, and in particular to give children a chance to experience aspects of farm life and perhaps connect with their grandparents.

While the day is free, it is designed to also raise funds for Mennonite Agri-Urban Inc., which sponsors the event.

That this will be the 10th annual Day on the Farm speaks to its popularity. Between 400 and 500 people usually come.

Children get to touch farm animals-including pigs, goats, calves, sheep and horses-and see exotic animals such as llamas and emus. They can also watch rope-making and climb through a bale maze.

The Agri-Urban program began in 1972. The idea was for farmers and cattle feeders to donate labor, facilities and feed or pasture to fatten cattle, and for urbanites to give money to buy the animals and possibly some or all of the feed.

Profits from sale of the cattle go to Western District Conference, Mennonite Church USA and Bethel College and are also reinvested in Agri-Urban.

Agri-Urban is implemented by a steering committee from Mennonite Men, a mission and service organization for men in the Mennonite Church.

Day on the Farm began in 1996 as a way to involve more people from urban areas. Duerksen and Knepp, who also write a series of Amish novels, provide the farm for city folk to visit.

“It’s fun to share our animals with so many people,” Duerksen said. The Agri-Urban volunteers, she adds, “are great at cleaning everything up afterward.”

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