Winter Fair Offers Hands-On Experience of Livestock Production

CANADA - The 101st annual edition of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair kicked off yesterday at Brandon's Keystone Centre and visitors are getting a unique opportunity to learn about what actually happens on a modern livestock operation, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 2 April 2008
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As part of the agricultural awareness component of the event, the Provincial Exhibition Association has teamed up with the Manitoba Farm Animal Council to present "Thru the Farm Gate.

This year's display features live dairy, beef, equine, sheep, layer and broiler chicken and hog displays.

MFAC executive director Shannon Silinski says the live animal displays offer people a chance to meet producers, see the animals and actually touch the farm while learning about agriculture in Manitoba.

Shannon Silinski-Manitoba Farm Animal Council

The Manitoba Farm Animal Council is the umbrella organization that puts the Thru the Farm Gate together.

Indeed we do three live animal exhibits every year and what we want to do is we want to showcase primary production in animal agriculture because that's our mandate as farm animal welfare.

We really want to reach people that may not have a close connection to agriculture or those that have a close connection to one sector but maybe not all agriculture because we really are involved.

As they used to say in Alberta in the 90's with their campaign, "if you eat, you're involved."

At the very baseline we're all consumers.

After that it's a matter of educating people, giving them good information, and giving them a chance to really interact with producers because farmers are proud of farming and this is their chance to say, "hey, I love farming, come and check it out."

Silinski observes the public's reaction to the display has been phenomenally positive.

She notes the farmers on hand are volunteers who have come to the show to tell people about their farming operations and it's their dedication to their industry that needs to be recognized.

The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and the "Thru the Farm Gate" display runs until Saturday.

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