I visited Evans City, Pa., this week for a feature like none I’ve ever done before. The story was based on the diorama built by Charlie Vogel. The model is a 1:64 scale of a farm from the 1960s and a modernday agriculture business.

Charlie and his parents, Al and Donna, take a trailer with farm scenes from the past and present to tractor shows, fairs and schools.

Someone might ask why would they take the time and, let’s face it, money to do this?

The answer was simple for everyone involved: to keep people connected to agriculture.

Al and Donna have two sons, Luke and Charlie. Both are actively involved in the family’s cattle business and farming. And even though Al and Donna’s children are adults, the couple are still active in 4-H and run their own beef club. It’s easy to see how big agriculture is in their family.

So it’s not hard to believe this family wants the word of agriculture to spread. They want young and old, and all generations to know where their food comes from and how farms operate.

The Vogels said it became clear to them how important it is to reconnect the consumer with the farm over time after talking to people and answering the questions they had.

In fact, Al told me about an encounter with a woman in her 60s who didn’t know that wheat was used to produce flour, which became bread.

“Can you imagine?” said Al.

The woman was taken aback by the fact that farmers grow the wheat in their fields, harvest it with combines and then haul it to the elevator where it is eventually delivered to the flour mill. He even went as far to explain that the wheat is ground to make the flour.

Al said the woman stood in the trailer in total amazement. He said she walked away understanding how it worked partly because she could see a miniature vision of what happens on a farm.

Another incident that occurred was with a young boy who didn’t understand where milk came from.

“He walked in and saw the guy milking and was totally surprised,” Al said.

The young boy stood bewildered as he figured out that the man would milk the cattle and send the milk to be bottled, after which it would end up in his refrigerator.

Al said the young boy would not have known otherwise because he never questioned where milk came from. It was always in the refrigerator and the boy had never traveled to a farm.

It is clear the Vogel family goes out of its way to ensure the past and present ag life is presented to all generations, and for that they should be commended!

Everyone involved in any form of agriculture can take a lesson from this family and do their part to get the word out as well.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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