[quote_box_right]IF YOU GO
: Farm Science Day
When: March 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, 21881 N. Cardon Lane
How much: Free
Info: tinyurl.com/USDA-Maricopa[/quote_box_right]Whether you want to spit a cricket, ride an auto-guidance tractor or learn about remote-sensing instruments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have something for you to enjoy at Farm Science Day.

The Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, University of Arizona and Maricopa Agricultural Center welcome all to the free, family-friendly farm and science activities at their location on Smith-Enke Road at Cardon Lane on March 21.

If you’ve ever wondered what is going on at the USDA farm, now is the time to learn about their research and resources. Attendees can watch the “world’s largest field scanner,” plant their own cotton and learn how biotechnology and irrigation technology are changing modern farming.

There will be face painting, cricket-spitting contests, temporary tattoos and kids’ crafts, as well. Wild at Heart will return with its live raptor display, and everyone can enjoy the interactive insect zoo.

Maricopa Master Gardeners and Arizona Farm Bureau will be on hand for the day.

Since the 1980s, U of A’s Maricopa Agricultural Center has been on the land once owned by Fred Enke and John Smith. The mission of the university’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences is to develop the “best-integrated agricultural technologies for problems faced by Arizona consumers and producers.” At the Maricopa farm, it focuses on cotton, alfalfa, small grains and new specialty crops to be used for fibers, oils and pharmaceuticals.

USDA’s Arid-Land Center opened in 2006. It was created to develop sustainable agricultural systems and protect natural resources in arid areas. Research results will be in the spotlight for the Saturday event.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.