To illustrate the importance of Nebraska value-added farm commodities and the productivity of farmers, try using canned foods—11,000 of them. That's what happened at the 2013 Nebraska State Fair.
At fair, five state farm groups sponsored an exhibit called "Farmers CAN." It involved cans that were stacked into three structures—a combine in a corn field, a pig by soybean plants and a grocery store. The groups were the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, and Nebraska Grange.
The idea behind the exhibit is that "farmers 'CAN' do more with less, be sustainable, use modern technology and add value to their commodities by finding new uses."
The display was put together by Canstruction, a non-profit organization that designs and builds structures made entirely of canned food.
"The three structures were chosen to show how farmers raise the food we eat and the products we use every day," according to spokespersons for the sponsoring organizations. "Before your food gets to the grocery store, it all begins with the farmers—planting and harvesting crops and feed and caring for livestock."
When the fair finished, the cans were donated to the Grand Island Salvation Army.
It's estimated that the cans used in the structures will provide 8,700 meals for food insecure families in and around Grand Island.
Overall, the display helped spread awareness to the general public of the hunger epidemic in the local community.
The display also showed household item made from soybeans, corn and hogs.
"Throughout the years, the advances in technology have been able to insure that farmers are excellent stewards of the land and good neighbors to their communities by caring about the environment, and making the world a cleaner and better place. Additionally, farmers have been able to produce more for the world and with using less energy," the sponsors pointed out.