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Down on the Farm

Oldham County Farm Tours
feature Klingenfus farm

Agritourism effort promotes
importance of farming

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (October 2014) – Having grown up on a farm, Bob Klingenfus knew his niche was in farming. He and his wife, Angie, are part of a new agritourism effort to offer guests the opportunity to experience modern farming operations through farm tours.

Klingenfus

Photo provided

Bob Klingenfus gives school children a lesson on feeding the cows during a recent farm tour in Crestwood, Ky.

“Ninety nine percent of our income comes from farming,” said Klingenfus, who has been farming on his own since 1972. The couple operates a commercial diary farm, Harvest Home Dairy, and currently owns and/or leases approximately 1,100 acres of farm land.
For visitors wanting to take a dairy tour of their farm, they can see “how cows are fed, cared for, our baby calves are raised, and cows milked by machine if they visit at milking time,” he said.
The Klingenfuses also raise corn for grain, corn silage, soybeans and various hays. “We can do farm tours with the whole farm experience,” said Klingenfus.
This would include crop production, conservation practices and environmental practices.
Such tours offer a fun, educational way to learn about food production and sustainability. “On tours we feed the baby calves, milk a cow, demo grinding corn flour, show and explain how all the feeds the cows eat are produced and sample some cheese from our cows.”

Klingenfus

Photo provided

Angie Klingenfus lets children pet one of the cows during a Farm Tour visit.

Since 2012, Harvest Home Dairy has been making natural artisan cheeses, not processed. The Klingenfus’ send milk from a portion of their herd to Master Cheese maker Giovanni Capezzuto, who crafts the cheese in his Lexington, Ky., facility.
Recently, the Klingenfuses have had requests for tours that include birthday parties. They conduct tours by appointment only at a price of $6 per person with a minimum $60 charge. “Each tour is custom designed to the wants of the group,” Klingenfus said.
These tours are part of an ongoing agritourism effort in the county. They were created by Kim Buckler, Executive Director of Oldham County Tourism. Farms on the tour are located in Crestwood, Goshen and La Grange.
She said the tours have been very successful since their inception in 2013. The tours were developed with an educational component in mind.
“We had the FFA in town last fall, and this was a major kickoff for our educational tours. We got a lot of feedback from them on how unique and educational the tours were,” said Buckler.
As a result of the initial success of the farm tours, “two new farms in Crestwood have joined the lineup,” Buckler said. One is Aurora Acres Gypsy Vanner Horse and Equestrian Center, whose owners also have a farm in Florida.
The second farm, Diamond Family Farm, “has a concept for farm tours that is different,” she said. The owners use the farm for homesteading purposes. “They raise their own produce and meat. They’re interested in sustainability,” Buckler said.
“There is a lot of science involved in farming,” said Klingenfus. “We use math, physics, chemistry, biology and microbiology, among others, every day. Understanding all of these sciences helps us to produce the food we eat.” Farmers also rely a lot on Mother Nature to produce food, he said.
Lori L. Belling, owner of Meadowview Farm & Natural Habitat Garden LLC, is also on the farm tour lineup. Her Crestwood property consists of 5.124 acres, with 2.5 wooded and the remaining 2.5 acres used for vegetable, fruit and nursery stock production.

Klingenfus

Photo provided

Bob Klingenfus demonstrates how to mill flour during a recent school group visit to Klingenfus Farm.

Visitors can experience a wide range of farming practices when touring her farm. Her farm specializes in “Kentucky native plants, heirloom corn and vegetables, and wild crafted home décor,” said Belling. Visitors will be introduced to tall grass meadow establishment, management, native plant use as predator habitat, habitat health, species diversification, wildlife management, and high and low tunnel season extending production methods.
“Since 2003, the property has been intensively managed for invasive plant identification and removal, continual review of meadow species diversification, introduction of Bluegrass Region specific Kentucky native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses, wildlife use and overall habitat health with the identification of bird, butterfly and insect species,” said Belling.
She became part of this farm tour project because she wanted to “educate the average homeowner that their landscaping can directly impact the health of local pollinators, wildlife and water quality. By utilizing state native plants on privately held land, you can significantly impact water quality by eliminating the need for additional input of insecticides, fungicides, fertilizer and weed control applications.”
These farm tours have resulted in Oldham County becoming known as the Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky, said Buckler. Tours run through early November and she believes many local restaurants are getting business from people who have taken the tours. Scheduling for bus tours has started to pick up as well, she said.
“People (farm owners) are really interested in the tours,” said Traci Missun, Oldham County Cooperative Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “There are an established number of folks dedicated to doing it and following through on Kim’s plans.”
The tours have encouraged Buckler to come up with another concept for marking area farms. She is planning a Kentucky Farm Fest on July 11-12, 2015. This countywide event, to be held at The Maples in Crestwood, will be a “two-day family festival with exhibits from all over the state,” she said.
All exhibitors will have interactive activities and feature Kentucky artisans and food vendors. “We want to make it the biggest agricultural show in the state,” while promoting Oldham County farms, she said.

• For more information on the Oldham County Farm Tours, contact Kim Buckler at (502) 817-6043 or visit: www.TourOldham.com.

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