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January 23, 2014

Folks learn where stuff's from

James Parken, 2, could only stand and watch his 4-year-old brother, Everett, and his dad, Adam, 35, pedaling side by side on Planet Agriculture’s wind-energy demonstration bikes.
But when James went into the nearby Harvest Experience simulator with his grandpa, John Parken, it was a different story. As the elder Parken worked the controls in the mock-up of a fancy modern tractor, James turned the steering wheel like a lifelong farmer, guiding them through the rows of corn projected on screens around them.
“It’s like our flight simulators,” said John Parken, 68. “I work for Bombardiere at D/FW Airport, where we train pilots for the business aircraft we make.”
Though the controls weren’t as complicated as an airplane’s, there were enough pedals, levers and buttons to give the Parken patriarch pause. And he said it didn’t take a lot of imagination to feel like he and his grandson were actually rolling through a corn field.
Harvest Experience and the renewable energy exercise bikes are among more than half a dozen interactive displays in Planet Agriculture. The large space in Fort Worth Stock Show’s poultry barn is devoted to answering consumers’ questions about where the stuff they eat, drink, wear and use comes from, said spokesman Baron Bartels of the Texas Farm Bureau.
“Our primary goal is to promote agriculture and educate the community on where food, fiber and fuel come from,” Bartels said. -- Terry Evans

Energy 1

James Parken, 2, center, watches his brother, Everertt Parken, 4, and his dad, Adam, 35, pedal machines hooked to generators at a Planet Agriculture display that helps Stock Show guests appreciate wind energy. Photo by Terry Evans

Tractor 1

James Parken, 2, steers as his grandpa, John Parken, 68, works pedals and levers in the Planet Agriculture tractor simulator at the Fort Worth Stock Show. Photo by Terry Evans

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