Your chance to spend some time on the farm this summer

AFA-Banack Open Farm Days Tent

Open Farm Days visitors learn about, and see, the grains grown on the Banack farm.

Consumers continue to be tremendously interested in how their food is grown. Getting farm producers and consumers together is one of the goals of Alberta’s Open Farm Days. This annual event provides an important connection for rural producers and their urban neighbours.

Open Farm Days also continues to be a popular event for farm producers, with a 28% increase in host farm participation when compared to last year. For 2016, a total of 90 host farms will provide real-world farm experiences for visitors on Sunday, August 21.

Once again, our Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) Vice President, Humphrey Banack and his family will be participating as a host farm. Humphrey and wife Terry Banack will welcome visitors to their Camrose-area homestead and will provide information and demonstrations for those who attend.

“Open Farm Days is a very important event in Alberta,” says Humphrey Banack. “People come with questions and a real open interest in agriculture. Traceability and social license are hot topics for today’s consumer, and Open Farm Days allows us to have that important conversation with members of the public.”

8-AFA-Banack Open Farm DaysHumphrey and Terry say that Open Farm Days lets them provide visitors with a ‘mini-adventure’ with a hands-on look at how food is produced nearby in Alberta communities. This year, the Banacks hope to take visitors out harvesting and send them home with a bag of peas straight from the field that they can use in recipes at home. Check out this video for more information.

Host farms that offer Open Farm DaysFarm Experiences” showcase a wide range of farm businesses including honey and berry farms, petting zoos, flower farms, plus more traditional agricultural enterprises like livestock, crop and vegetable farms.

Open Farm Days also includes farm-to-table “Culinary Experiences” taking place on August 20 and 21. These events feature local chefs and producers that team up to provide unique field dinners, brewery tasting tours, cowboy gatherings and barbecues. Most of these events require ticket purchases in advance. Information can be found at http://www.albertafarmdays.com/.

“We understand how important it is to connect with the consumers of our product,” Banack says. “Open Farm Days gives us the opportunity to allow visitors to see exactly what we do, where we fit into their food system and how we are part of what they put on their tables everyday.”

This AFA video taken during Alberta’s 2015 Open Farm Days event on the Banack Homestead shows what visitors can expect from a farm visit.

We encourage you to make this fun event part of your summer plans!

To Verlyn Olson, with our thanks

With the provincial election now wrapped up, and a new government on the horizon, it’s hard not to jump into speculation about what’s next.

Before AFA goes down that road (and we will), we want to pause and thank Hon. Verlyn Olson, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who lost his bid for re-election in the riding of Wetaskiwin-Camrose.

AFA had the pleasure of working with Mr. Olson since May 2012. During this time, our Executive and Board enjoyed a positive relationship with the Minister, and appreciated his contribution to this province’s agriculture industry.

AFA President Lynn Jacobson shared his thoughts while taking a break from spring seeding on his farm in the Enchant area.

“Our relationship with Verlyn was really good,” says Jacobson. “He always came with an open mind and was willing to work with people. We appreciated that he didn’t have pre-conceived ideas, always listened and gave AFA the benefit of a two-way communication.”

Jacobson said he knows AFA 2nd Vice President Humphrey Banack feels the same. Banack knows Olson well, as both live in the Camrose area.

Regardless of political affiliation, those who give of their time and talents to build the industry deserve respect and appreciation. AFA’s Board and Executive wish Verlyn Olson all the best in his future endeavors.

YouTube helps share passion for agriculture

In October 2014, AFA 2nd VP Humphrey Banack opened his farm to Canadian TV icon Rick Mercer. The Banack family warmly welcomed Mercer (and the sizable Canadian audience who watches the show) to their Camrose family farm to join them for harvest.

What the film crew captured shows a slice of life on the farm, and the 6-minute video segment ‘RMR: Rick Harvests Wheat’ has already climbed to over 36,000 views as of this blog posting! You can watch the antics here:

A growing number of agriculture producers and agri-businesses find the power of YouTube to be an incredible resource in telling their story.

If you plug the words ‘agriculture Canada’ into the YouTube search engine, you’ll find more than 90,000 results on this very broad topic … everything from TEDx talks about building a future for agriculture to organic agriculture in the City of Toronto. The video possibilities are endless, and many in agriculture are taking advantage of this free medium.

As for Banack, when asked by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to participate in the Rick Mercer Report project, he said yes knowing the TV show and resulting video could reach a broad audience.

“The video has had thousands of views to date, and that kind of reach is important to farmers,” Banack says. “It’s critical to showcase agriculture to educate Canadian consumers and our urban neighbors about what we do. I believe our customers and consumers are thirsty for this information.”

AFA has joined the ranks of companies on YouTube to tell our story and give viewers a chance to see the priorities we are working on in the upcoming year.

On our AFA YouTube channel, you’ll find information about us and also links to videos by others featuring AFA or some of our board members and executives.

Our main page can be found here, with the links to our individual AFA playlists below. We hope you’ll enjoy checking out these videos. Watch for more to come!

Introduction to AFA

AFA In The News

AFA Priorities