Last week, I served as a chaperone for Franklin FFA's National Soil Judging Team on a trip to the national contest in Oklahoma City, Okla. A typical tourist I am not. Thanks to the friends in my phone and my innate desire to search out agriculture, what we as tourists saw in OKC were not typical tourist attractions.
Fortunately, my family had already experienced the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. While this is definitely something you don't want to miss in OKC, we passed on a second trip there to experience new things.
First up was dirt, which makes sense being as that was the reason we were there. That meant seven practice pits, six buckets of different types of soils to texture, a good hour at the practice slope site and endless hours practicing rules in our hotel.
Second was cattle. I can remember the feeling of my Dad pulling into our drive as a kid late at night, a trailer full of fat cattle and him honking the horn. The first kid out the door got to ride to the stockyards in Indianapolis and I was willing to knock down and fight my way to be first out if I had to. My kids, like most Indiana livestock kids, only experience buying stations now so a true stockyards and auction was a high priority on this trip.
There's no better place to see a real stockyard than Oklahoma. We visited two; the Oklahoma National Stockyards with their vast cattle pens and catwalks, then another, OKC West, where we saw the operation's brand new, state-of-the-art facilities.
I could sit for hours at a cattle auction watching people and cattle of all kinds. We saw live auctions at both facilities, both singles and groups.
We also toured Fort Reno. Established as a military camp in 1874 during the Indian War era, it now serves as a USDA research facility conducting grazing lands research with cattle.
The private tour drive of some of the 7,000 acres was amazing along with firsthand information about the facilities and trials currently happening. Agriculture is everywhere, and while I live it every day, I still seek it out even on vacation.
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.