Until recently, amid COVID-19, it was hard to spread the word about how agriculture works, says the head of a local farming education group.
“Prior to 2020, all our programs were in person,” said Judy Krall of Lambton-Kent Agriculture in the Classroom. “We needed a new ag education delivery model.”
Their solution? Twelve videos featuring local Chatham-Kent and Lambton farmers that recently went online.
Kevin Forbes of Sarnia’s Forbesvue Farms said he agreed to have his third-generation dairy farm featured because of the importance his family places on agriculture education.
They also offer tours to schools, Scouts and other groups to let people know what farmers do, he said, and show the comfort and care Forbesvue provides for its animals.
“This is just another opportunity to do that,” he said.
The videos, available at lkaitc.org, details the technology and techniques used at Forbes’ farm, and at Neal Craven’s beef and cash crop farm in Chatham-Kent.
All of these videos are curriculum-linked,” and mostly aimed at elementary schools, Krall said. “They all have a tie back to the science program.”
Forbes said his farm at Waterworks Road and Confederation Street has about 525 hectares (1,300 acres) under crops, in part to feed his 300 cows, and produces about 7,000 litres of milk daily.
Film crews came out for a single day last summer, he said.
“We start milking at 5 a.m. so they were out at about 4:45 a.m. to get things set up for the cows coming into the parlour, to get those shots.”
Ag in the Classroom received a $15,000 Libro Credit Union grant in 2021 to create the videos, Krall said.
They also repurposed $2,000 from the Sarnia-Lambton Seaway Kiwanis Club, normally earmarked for school Spring Days trips to the Children’s Animal Farm in Canatara Park, she said.
That event resumes this week for the first time since 2019, she said, noting third- and fourth-graders from local school were visiting, taking tours and hearing from experts.
The Seaway club has been sponsoring Spring Days for 14 years, said past-president Don Burnard.
Hopes are to continue with more videos featuring local farmers, Krall said, noting CR Creative and Frameworks created the Forbes and Craven videos.
“We applied again to Libro . . . hoping we’ll be selected for funding to add another video to the library,” she said.
For Forbes, it wasn’t his first time in front of a camera. His family also was featured in a 2019 Dairy Farmers of Ontario Dairy Done Right commercial, he said.
“They had it on during hockey playoffs, during the Super Bowl and that type of thing.”
His family received a little compensation for that and for the Ag in the Classroom videos, he said. “It wasn’t a moneymaker.”
The Sarnia Observer