Funding Boosted for Glenlea Farm Education Centre

CANADA - Manitoba's pork producers are counting on a planned three million dollar agricultural education centre to help better inform the public about the food they eat and the role of farmers in getting to their tables, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 22 December 2008
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The University of Manitoba is targeting the spring of 2009 to begin construction of the Glenlea Farm Education Centre.

The facility, which will be built at the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment south of Winnipeg, will feature crop and livestock displays with an emphasis on research conducted by the national centre.

Last week Manitoba Pork Council committed an additional 150 thousand dollars to help fund the project.

Pork Council vice-chair Bryan Ferriss says pork producers want to show that animal agriculture, particularly the hog industry, isn't the environmental threat that's been perceived by the public at large.

Bryan Ferriss-Manitoba Pork Council

It's important that people understand how we handle the manure that we do produce, the fertilizer factor that it adds to the land, the fact that you can regenerate land that has been eroded, the fact that we are governed by legislation as far as the amount that you can apply, testing that sort of thing.

What the Glenlea Education Centre will do is it will be a whole cycle of production in that it will illustrate the animal production, the manure that's produced, how it's applied to the land, how the crop utilizes that, how the root zone is able to absorb even nutrients that do leach below that top six to 12 inches and, in a one year cycle, use the fertilizer that is produced by the manure and not be a threat in any way to the environment.

While the new farm education centre is intended to be of interest to anyone with a desire to learn more about how their food is produced, Ferriss notes, initially it will reach out elementary school students.

He notes, as a result of declining farm populations over the past 30 years, a number of children and young adults have had no opportunity to experience farm-gate production of livestock.

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