Monday, April 14, 2014


Ed Fackler once stated that the days of farming 160 acres of commodity crops and making a living are over.

He went on to say that the new careers in agriculture do not look like the old careers in agriculture.  The new careers look like managing the turf on golf courses.  That is where the money is.

Another emerging area is in "agri-tainment". 

Agri-tainment is the merging of agriculture and entertainment.  The Tennes family of Potterville, Michigan (The Country Mill) does this as well as anybody.  They morphed from an apple orchard, to a fruit and craft stand, to a theme destination.  Then they expanded on the theme destination (hay rides, apple picking, pumpkin carving, cider pressing) into weddings and receptions.  They are exquisitely attuned to the desires of the customer.  If they cannot precisely meet the customer's desire then they figure out how to get darned close.


Another enterprise is agri-cation.  Agri-cation is the merging of agriculture and education.  The hard-nosed businessman who would pound their broker if they spent a penny extra per bushel for commodity futures will spend hundreds of dollars to give their child a unique educational experience without batting an eye.

Eaton Rapids School District empowered their teachers to seek those kinds of unique experiences for their students.  I was pressed into service as a delivery boy for one of those experiences.

Incubators on the Michigan State University campus. The eggs are held in trays.  The trays are in holders.  The holders rotate in an elliptical path driven by the motor you can see on the top of the cabinet.  The eggs are rocked as they travel that elliptical path so the developing embryos do not get bed sores (i.e., stick to the bottom of the shell).  If you look closely in

Built like fine furniture

Many sets of eggs.  MSU maintains many lines of chickens for a diverse range of research projects.  They also teach students AI techniques. 
Each egg has information pencilled on it as well as being logged into a book. 

These eggs are programmed to hatch on April 16 in Mr Jewett's classroom.  The gentleman performing this work is Mr Angelo Napolitano.  Things were really hopping when I showed up.  Things happen over the weekend and Mr Napolitano was getting his arms around the problems.  But he had plenty of time to help me out.
Each egg is "candled" before it goes out.  Bad eggs make unhappy customers and change incubators to "stinkubators".
All the lights go off except the "candle".
Clear eggs bad.  Opaque eggs good.
This is a good egg.  Gravity pulls the chick to the bottom of the egg.  Light, fluffy fuzz diffuses light which makes the egg opaque.  Bad eggs look like the top of this egg from top-to-bottom.
In the Cavalier and on the way back to Eaton Rapids.
Providing eggs that are two days from hatching is ancillary to MSU's mission as a Land Grant University.  I don't think they would mind if somebody else started picking up that enterprise.

One of the new careers in agri-cation might be filling that niche.  But it is absolutely critical that the person filling that niche have a strong customer the Tennes family or like Mr Napolitano.

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