June 14th, 2024

Barons’ Agriculture Day celebrates producers

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on March 1, 2023.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Tracy Elke talks to Barons & District Agricultural Society's Celebrate Canada's Agriculture Day goers about her Hoppy Beginning and Garlic The World products.

Barons and District Agricultural Society celebrated everything agriculture during its annual Celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day on Saturday.

The Agricultural Society has been celebrating this day since 2017 when it was established nationally, although the society had to forgo the event in 2021 because of the pandemic.

The celebration recognizes the agriculture industry and helps consumers see a connection between where their food comes from as far as a local source and how it’s produced.The event also featured local businesses that are connected to agriculture.

“We try to focus on different things each year to show how agriculture plays an important part in everybody’s life because we produce the food,” said Mary Bishop, Ag Society president.

“So we’re actually feeding the world. If it wasn’t for that, then there would be disasters happening.”

The annual celebration is certainly important to the Ag Society.

“I know we’re just a little cog in the wheel,” Bishop said, “but I mean some of us farmers grow canola and it’s one of the biggest crops that is growing in Canada and we’re well known for it. And it’s nice to get the word out. I know sometimes we don’t blow our own horn enough and we need to get it out there to consumers and help the economy out.”

Paul Jakober, who, with his family, has been farming east of Barons since 1959, spoke on sugar beet production, its history and the current state of the industry.

Jakober said that even though sugar beets are not as big of a deal around Barons, a few miles to the east it’s still a significant crop.

“It’s still a good crop, really good agronomically, and kind of a unique thing,” said Jakober.

“It’s the only place in Canada that you can get sugar from a crop grown in Canada. The plant in Taber is the only one that processes Canadian sugar beets.”

This year’s celebration was particularly significant for the family, Jacober said.

“Last year was my dad’s last year growing sugar beets and this will be my first year under my name. It’s sort of a neat time to be part of it.”

Tracy Elke has two divisions on the family farm just west of Barons.

Garlic the World is where she grows her own garlic, makes her own spices and does black garlic.

The second is Hoppy Beginning, which are hops that are grown, processed and eventually will lead to the opening of a brewery after seven to eight months, once a recipe is found.

“There isn’t anything I don’t like about it,” said Elke.

“We’re four generations up until about five years ago on the farm. The kids just had a wealth of knowledge growing up with all the animals, and the plants and the learning. It’s just been great. I wouldn’t change it. I’m looking forward to having grandchildren someday that are also going to be on the farm. It’s just a simpler life.”

Attendees also enjoyed a sugar beet presentation from the Jakobers by a local farmer producer, free Farm to Fork Eats, Ag displays, presentations and Ag-related activities.

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