Agriculture at the drive-in

The COVID pandemic has changed the way we deliver information in many ways, causing extension offices to get creative to share ag research. One way is by using a drive-in, where the main feature is farming on the big screen.

Sundown means showtime at the State Line Drive-In in Elizabethton. Park your car, tune in the audio, and watch the movie. This week you can catch a double feature: Cloverfield and “Supplementation Strategies for Cow/Calf Nutrition”.

Kathleen Wilson, an agent with University of Tennessee Extension, states, “It’s exciting. I mean I still get to see my producer, which makes my heart happy, but I don’t have to be as close as we would in a building.”

Wilson came up with this idea, and COVID was the cause. She wanted to get information to cattle producers, and since we’ve all had enough Zoom meetings to last ten lifetimes, she thought, ‘let’s go to the movies!’

“It kind of gives a nostalgic feel, because a lot of my producers remember going to the drive-in movie theater and things when they were younger and with family. So, it just keeps the Carter County family atmosphere going, and we’re going to talk everything Master Beef,” according to Wilson.

Drive-ins have actually been doing good business during the pandemic. This event just made sense for this location-- trucks and cars able to vehicle distance about five paces apart.

A trip to an outdoor drive-in theater is a great way to be entertained during the pandemic, and to spread information. Eight different showings this fall-- cattle farming in the comfort of your car.

Carter County producer, Nick Holder states, “It’s a good idea, and it’s a good way to keep the farmers involved without being right next to each other during the pandemic.”

Stateline could have been showing a real movie this night. Instead, it was mighty nice of the owner, Andy Wetzel, to donate his screen for this event.

“Anything I can do to help. It’s the least we could do,” Wetzel states. “These guys need to get their stuff. We’ve got a place we can do it; so, let’s give it a shot. I know she’s been very pleased with it, and I know I have-- I’m glad that they could come.”

Next week, the drive-in will show the original Friday the 13thand beef quality assurance training.