“There’s reasons people want to stay on the land. So that’s what we decided to celebrate.”
– STRESS LINE MANAGER JANET SMITH
It was a day to say thanks to farmers and its organizers say it turned out so well, they’ll do it again.
More than 2,500 farmers enjoyed a free outdoor barbecue at Fraser Auction’s fall sale at Brandon last Monday. The event was billed as Farmer Appreciat ion Day and hosted by the staff and volunteers of the Manitoba Farm and Rural Stress Line.
Farmers who contact the stress line often say, in spite of all their difficulties, they want to stick with farming, said stress line manager Janet Smith.
“There’s reasons people want to stay on the land,” she said. “So that’s what we decided to celebrate.”
The fall sale is always a huge draw for farmers, so what better place than here, they thought, to host a big celebratory dinner? Donations of cash and meat enabled them to serve pork on a bun, hamburgers and smokies, while over 300 homemade pies were produced at local Shady Lane Tea House.
Smith said judging from all the smiles and comments throughout the day, and all the support from so many volunteers, the whole event turned out better than anyone expected.
“One comment I remember hearing was ‘This couldn’t have come at a better time,’” she said. “I think we’ll definitely do it again.”
The event also gave stress line staff and volunteers a chance to introduce themselves to farmers. Just making themselves a little better known may encourage anyone reluctant to pick up the phone if they need to, Smith added. “We’re farmers helping farmers,” she said.
The event featured displays on health and wellness issues. A $5,000 grant from Manitoba Conservation also made it possible to produce and distribute a variety of information about the farm stress line’s services.