Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:27

Aggie Days provides a fun agriculture lesson

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Bill Bier from Half Diamond 4B Acres in Stirling shows the children at Aggie Days one of his miniature horses. Bill Bier from Half Diamond 4B Acres in Stirling shows the children at Aggie Days one of his miniature horses. Photo by Stephanie Labbe

The seventh annual Aggie Days event held April 23-24 was a hit with children. Aggie Days is put on at the Lethbridge Exhibition Park to help educate young students on agriculture and the origins of food.

Many school groups attend Ag Expo another popular agriculture event.
However, Ag Expo is more for businesses to showcase their products with a lot of large farm equipment on site, geared towards the adults.
Doug Kryzanowski, the manager of corporate relations, marketing, events and entertainment for the Exhibition Park, says Aggie Days was created to showcase the animal part of agriculture and to better educate the younger generation.
“A lot of the school groups would be coming into Ag Expo and given the space that we had for all the exhibitors and the customers coming in to try to buy tractors or cultivators or whatever, it just got way too congested,” says Kryzanowski.
Aggie Days is put on by United Farmers of Alberta (UFA). There’s always a demonstration cow on display to show how a calf is born. As well, this year they set up hay bails with a fake cow head for people to practise roping.
“A lot of the (students) don’t interact with animals on the farm. A lot of them don’t even sometimes get to a farm to even interact. Some of them see them at the rodeo and things like that, but not in a concentrated area like an Aggie Days show is,” explains Kryzanowski.
Aggie Days organizers want to make sure children know where their food comes from and how important agriculture is in Alberta. This event gives those children a chance to learn about agriculture who don’t have access to a farm.
“The primary target is to educate young people on agriculture and farming and ranching. That’s our main staple here in Alberta. We’re not dependent on gas and oil like other territories, so I think it’s important that some of these people need to know ... food doesn’t necessarily come from a freezer in a grocery store,” says Kryzanowski.
The event is free of charge and open to the public.
“The greatest benefit is obviously doing it so these people are educated and understand what they are or trying to understand at a young age the importance and the benefits of agriculture in our area.
At last year’s event, there were about 38 school groups from Lethbridge and surrounding area that attended Aggie Days. Visitation was about 4,000. This year, there were 31 vendors at the event. About 42 school groups from Lethbridge and area attended.
Kryzanowski says it’s perfect to have this event at Exhibition Park, because it’s not possible to have 30 or 40 school groups out to a farm. This way, school groups can come and walk around the grounds to see everything at their own pace.
“It’s steady and it won’t go away. Like I said, the price is right, but the education hopefully is more substantial then (just) the price being free admission. We’ve had a lot of parents come through with strollers, so it’s fun for them and it gives them a day away from the house with their young children,” says Kryzanowski.

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