We had a group of young people visit the farm Thursday. This was a unique group as it was comprised of local and Northern Ireland teens, all participants in the Ulster Project and all excited to see a farm up close, although some enthusiasm as dampened by the 100-plus-degree heat. (It rarely gets above 80 degrees F in Northern Ireland, leaving the visits unprepared for the heat and humidity!)
The Ulster Project brings Northern Ireland teens from both Protestant and Catholic homes to the U.S. to see families of both religious faiths live, work and worship side-by-side. Northern Ireland has experienced violence and tension between Catholic and Protestant families and communities for decades and continues to suffer from divisive policies and politics. The teens come to the U.S. for the month of July and live with host families in and around McPherson. Learn more about the Ulster Project HERE.
During their time in Kansas, Ulster teens keep busy touring sites throughout Central Kansas. This was the first time for the group to visit a farm and we were happy to welcome new visitors. This was our opportunity to not only educate local teens but Europeans who have grown up around a different size and type of agriculture. We talked about GMO corn, cow herds and machinery. The Irish students were awed by the size and scale of the farm and took advantage of the opportunity to climb into a combine and walk through a corn field.
I think my three-year-old son, Evan, quit possibly had the most fun of all, showing all of his new “friends” his cows, crops and combines. We sent everyone home with mini John Deere tractors, cow-shaped cookies and beef jerky produced from our cattle. We hope the teens will remember their time on the farm and understand just how hard American farm families work to feed the world.