Farm Credit helps fund three exhibits at the Museum of Science and Curiosity that demonstrate why farms need water and how farmers conserve this precious resource
Despite recent heavy rains, California is still experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history. It is therefore essential for the state’s farming community to remind the public and policy makers that food does not grow without water. This is why Mike Wade and Agricultural credit were delighted to see the new SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity open recently.
The $ 52 million state-of-the-art science center in Sacramento contains dozens of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and specifically tackle the problems global and local related to energy, water, health, nature, space engineering and design.
Wade, executive director of the California Agricultural Water Coalition, said the three water exhibitions the coalition is sponsoring serve as a reminder that water is essential to growing our food and that California farmers are the world leaders in conserving this precious resource.
âThe exhibits have been very popular with visitors to the museum so far. Students and adults alike learned about the water needed to grow our food and how farmers are using the latest technology to conserve it, âsaid Wade.
âIt has always been part of our mission to educate people about the connection between farm water and their food supply. It is important for everyone to know that farmers use water efficiently and that as consumers we all depend on farmers.
American AgCredit, CoBank and Farm Credit West have collectively pledged $ 75,000 over five years to help build and maintain the exhibits. The organizations are part of the National Farm Credit System – the largest provider of credit to America’s agriculture.
Wade said one exhibit consists of a touchscreen that people can drag foods from an illustrated list onto your plate. Once they have made their choices, they can click on the âEatâ button and the screen will show the nutritional value and water demand of the food on the plate. And that in turn shows participants how close they are to meeting their nutritional needs and how much water is needed to produce that food.
Mark Littlefield, President and CEO of Farm Credit West, said the exhibit will be an important learning tool for visitors.
âExposure helps people understand that it takes a significant amount of water to grow the food we eat. It’s telling to choose the right foods to eat and then see at the end of the game how much water it takes to grow those foods, âhe said.
Another interactive exhibit shows how technology is helping farmers use just the right amount of water to grow their crops, said Curt Hudnutt, president and CEO of American AgCredit.
âThe More Crop Per Drop exhibit allows visitors to irrigate their field on a set water budget without giving them any information on how much water the crops need,â said Hudnutt. âThen they can try again after getting information from the water sensors, and then a third time with additional information from drones that identify areas that have enough water and areas that need more. In most cases, participants will do better with additional information, which makes this a great way to show how farmers are already on the cutting edge of technology.
Wade said the third exhibit is a map of California that shows the state’s major water projects and transportation facilities.
âThe highlight here are quotes from five farmers from the five main farming regions who describe how storage and transportation enabled them to grow crops,â he said.
The exhibits will be on display for 15 years at the museum, located in a building that once housed a century-old power station on the banks of the Sacramento River. The building has been reconstructed and modernized and a new wing has been added which includes a planetarium, offices and a cafe. The interactive agricultural water exhibits are part of the Water Challenge Gallery, located in the historic powerhouse section of the museum.
Wade said the support from Financement Agricole has been extremely valuable in making the exhibitions a reality.
âNone of this would be possible without farm credit and the other donors who give so generously,â he said. âPublic education is a shared responsibility of the entire agriculture industry, and Farm Finance is leading by example. “
About agricultural credit: American AgCredit, CoBank, and Farm Credit West are cooperative-owned lending institutions that provide agriculture and rural communities with a reliable source of credit. We specialize in financing farmers, ranchers, farmer cooperatives, rural utilities and agribusiness. Farm Finance offers a wide range of loan products and financial services, including long-term home loans, operating lines of credit, equipment and facility loans, cash management and financial services. appraisal and rental … everything a âgrowingâ business needs. For more information visit www.farmcreditalliance.com
About the California Farm Water Coalition: CFWC is a non-profit educational organization established in 1989 to provide the public with factual information on agricultural water issues. The organization works to help consumers, elected officials, government officials and the media make the connection between farm water and our food supply. For more information visit www.farmwater.org.