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Manitobans participate in first-ever national agriculture day

February 16 marks the countrywide launch of Canada’s Agriculture Day, 
which aims to be an annual national celebration

Dauphin Co-op planned to share drawings and photos about farmers created by local school students this week.

Some of those students would be meeting real farmers and learning about how they produce food too.

The youngsters are taking part in a special event organized by staff at Dauphin Co-op to mark Canada’s Agriculture Day February 16, a new one-day national celebration to raise agriculture’s profile and celebrate it with Canadians coast to coast.

This year is the first time the industry has dedicated a day to celebrating agriculture nationwide. Plans to celebrate a national day of agriculture February 16 were announced last June at the close of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity Public Trust Summit in Ottawa.

“Every link in the food production chain – from the farm to the grocery store and restaurant – plays a vital role in bringing food to your table every day,” said Crystal Mackay, CEO of Farm & Food Care Canada, at the announcement.

“Canada’s Agriculture Day is an opportunity to get involved, celebrate and be a part of the conversation about food and farming.”

Across the country numerous Canadian farmers, businesses and groups had the date on their calendars and were listing the ways they planned to mark the day.

They heard about this through Federated Co-op, said Joan Chetyrbok, marketing manager at Dauphin Co-op.

“We’re very excited about this and wanted to take part because we’re really involved in the ag community,” she said.

“We sell crop inputs and bulk fuel and work very closely with farmers, and we have a food store as well.”

Chetyrbok said they were really looking forward to seeing what students would share with them. She planned to document their efforts on Facebook and other social media.

“They may know much more than we realize. It will be interesting because kids always have the most fantastic ideas or visions.”

In Brandon Thursday the Provincial Exhibition’s Presidents Dinner was also acknowledging Canada’s Agriculture Day. Their black-tie dinner has been held for two decades as a fundraiser supporting annual scholarships given for students study-ing agriculture at Assiniboine Community College and Brandon University, said Ron Kristjansson, general manager.

They planned to acknowledge Canada’s Agriculture Day at the event because it’s a natural fit with their own efforts year round in agricultural education at their fairs, Kristjansson said.

“The agricultural education part of our mandate is something we take very seriously,” he said. “And this year our dinner coincides with the national recognition of agriculture.”

Miles Glasman, who owns a purebred cattle and grain family farm near Russell said they would be making mention of Canada’s Agriculture Day during their annual bull sale which also coincided with February 16.

“Besides being agriculture producers, we are also agriculture promoters and want to help promote ag awareness across the country,” he said.

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan their respective Agriculture in the Classroom programs planned to launch a new video classroom resource on their websites this week featuring frequently asked questions students and teachers have about Canadian agriculture.

Meanwhile, across Canada, organizations such as Farm Credit Canada expected to launch their “Here’s to the Farmer” campaign, with a new video appearing on social media and TV commercials on both English and French television channels, including the Weather Network.

Canada’s Agriculture Day follows a week after the release of 2016 Canada Census population data showing the intense urbanization of the population, with Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver now home to one-third of all Canadians (12.5 million).

Less than three per cent of the Canadian population today have any link to agriculture today — in the 1930s more than 90 per cent of the population did.

Candace Hill, manager of Agriculture More Than Ever, said Canada’s Agriculture Day complements that industry-led initiative that has attracted over 470 partner organizations and 2,100 individuals committed to creating positive perceptions of agriculture.

Launched more than four years ago, Agriculture More Than Ever’s goal is to encourage those involved in agriculture to speak up and speak positively about the industry.

“It’s all about showing our love, pride and passion for an industry that puts food on our tables,” Hill said.

“We want to give everyone the opportunity to have a voice in the conversation and celebrate the industry that feeds the world.”

For more information, visit AgDay.ca or follow it on Twitter at #CdnAgDay.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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