Ag education brings opportunity

Agriculture literacy month to teach kids about technology in agriculture, build connections

Agriculture education may help kids get jobs that keep them in their communities and let them do what they love, says a Carman-area teacher.

“Having been involved in agriculture myself, I am aware of how important agriculture is to the community,” said Brenda Mutcher, who teaches Grade 6 at Carman Collegiate.

That’s one reason why Mutcher hosted a kickoff event for Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) in her Grade 6 class Feb. 24.

CALM is an initiative of Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba, which invites agriculture professionals to share their stories with students to “put a face to agriculture and make a connection to food,” according to a Feb. 21 news release.

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For Mutcher and her students, one of those agriculture professionals was Ag Minister Blaine Pedersen — who is MLA for that region. Pedersen visited the class and spoke to the students about the many ways they could work in agriculture.

“There is so much opportunity for you,” he said.

Pedersen told students that they didn’t have to be farmers. They could be mechanics working on farms, food scientists, technology experts, or extension staff with Manitoba Agriculture.

“For everyone, no matter where you live. You don’t have to be from a farm to participate in agriculture these days,” he told reporters after the event.

Mutcher’s husband, Blair Mutcher, also visited the class. Blair talked about his work as crop-duster pilot, passed around a flight helmet for the kids to try on, and showed a video of an aerial applicator at work. He also told kids about different types of fertilizer (he works for Nutrien Canada as a salesperson).

“The Manitoba economy is based on agriculture and students need an understanding of how that affects them,” Blair said. “There are many agricultural jobs that will become vacant in the future due to retirements so there is a great opportunity for students to do something right in their hometown.”

This year, 165 volunteers will visit classrooms and speak on the month’s theme — technology. Volunteers will play tech-related activities and read books about technology in agriculture, and also tell their own stories.

CALM will reach about 8,200 students in just over 400 classes, said a news release from Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba.

About the author

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Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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