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Discovery Park of America to open new agriculture exhibit

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Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee, announced the initial sponsors and partners for “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival.” The permanent exhibit, dedicated to telling the story of innovation in agriculture, will open Oct. 22, 2020, and will be located in the 8,900-square-foot building that currently houses the museum and heritage park’s antique tractor exhibit. The building will be named the Simmons Bank Ag Center.

Because innovation in the field of agriculture is always changing, an important part of the exhibit will be a state-of-the-art main stage sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions. In addition to being used by Discovery Park’s educators on a regular basis, the space will be made available to others in the community for agriculture-related teaching, programs, and special events.

In addition to Simmons Bank and Nutrien Ag Solutions, other confirmed major sponsors of the exhibit are the Tennessee Corn Promotional Board, Tennessee Farm Bureau, Tennessee Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, and the Tennessee Soybean Promotional Board.

A landing page has also been launched that will allow individuals and families to make a pledge to contribute to the funding of the exhibit. Everyone who provides a gift of any amount will be included as a “Champion of Agriculture” on the exhibit’s partnership wall.

“When we open the doors of this exhibit, it will be the most interactive, state-of-the-art experience about innovation in agriculture in any museum or attraction in the world today,” said Scott Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Park. “We’re immensely grateful to all our sponsors, partners, and those who have been helping the team with content development. All of us are passionate about creating a fun, interactive way to tell the story of how those in agriculture today are working to develop new ways to sustainably provide food, fuel and fiber for a growing population.”

As companion pieces for the permanent exhibit, Discovery Park will be producing education materials for school groups of all ages and will also be hosting panel discussions, programs and product demonstrations on the topic of innovation in agriculture throughout the year. Since opening, the museum has done this for a variety of subjects including STEM, art, music, and history, but this will be the first time there will be a focus on agriculture.

Some of this programming will be led by AgLaunch Initiative and will feature entrepreneurship modules that highlight opportunities to solve global food and agriculture problems by creating new ventures. AgLaunch Initiative will also be part of a “what’s next” section of the exhibit produced with a variety of mediums and tools to showcase emerging innovations in agriculture that are creating new opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Solid Light, a leader in the exhibit design and fabrication field, has been working on the content of the exhibit since being selected to head the project in August.

“Those at Solid Light who have been working with the Discovery Park team on this exhibit have now heard from hundreds of agriculture professionals and farmers in focus groups and individual meetings,” said Cynthia Torp, Solid Light’s owner and president. “We’re now beginning to pull all the ideas together and looking for the best stories, artifacts and exhibit components that will create the ‘mind-blowing, myth-busting farming exhibit’ that we’ve promised.”

When opened, “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival” in the Simmons Bank Ag Center will include sections on past farming innovations that changed the world, careers in agriculture, modern tools used by farmers today, and an exploration of how enough food, fuel and fiber will be provided to meet the needs of a growing population. Also explored will be issues that can sometimes be both confusing and controversial including precision ag, animal welfare, chemicals, GMOs, organics and sustainability.

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