Manitoba farmers gearing up for Open Farm Day
47 hosts invite the public to visit on Sunday
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Nearly 50 agricultural hosts throughout Manitoba will welcome visitors as part of the province’s Open Farm Day on Sept. 17.
The Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies (MAAS) hosts the event, which aims to educate people not only about production agriculture but also the extent of agriculture’s reach.
“Not all the host sites are farms because agriculture is much more than that,” Wendy Bulloch, MAAS open farm coordinator, told Farms.com today. “We have agri-tourism venues, a number of ag museums – including the Roland 4-H Museum – and we have some research sites showcasing the work they’re doing.”
Keystone Agricultural Producers will also provide walking tours of downtown Winnipeg to demonstrate agriculture’s role in urban areas. And including people in a variety of roles can help visitors understand the vast career opportunities available in the ag sector, Bulloch said.
Participating hosts are looking forward to connecting with visitors, especially those without much exposure to agriculture.
“It’s good for us as farmers to understand what people expect from their food,” Donald Toms, a beef producer from Sun Dance Charolais in Amaranth, Man., told Farms.com today. “And it’s good for people to see what some farmers are up against when it comes to producing this food.”
As most members of the ag industry are aware, there are misconceptions about agriculture that seem to become true in the court of public opinion.
So industry officials are also using Open Farm Day to help dispel any myths about the industry.
“A lot of people think big companies are running these farms when, in reality, most of the operations are family-run and owned,” Rachel Regier, field services technician with Manitoba Chicken Producers, told Farms.com today. “Hopefully we can answer any questions that (visitors) may have and they can see how a chicken farm is run on a day to day basis.”
All of the participating farms are doing so voluntarily and visitors should keep this information in mind throughout the day, Bulloch said.
“People are (welcoming visitors) out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts,” she said. “They’re opening up their farms to the public at a very busy time of year and inviting visitors to learn about the industry.”
Manitoba Open Farm Day is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 17.
A full list of host sites and information can be found on the event website.