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Agriculture This Week: Shouldn't need month to know ag important

We need to have an appreciation for those who produce our food.
health harvest 6
Designating October Agriculture Month shouldn't be needed given importance of sector. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Regular readers may recognize that I hold limited faith in a day, week, or month being designated to mark a particular thing having much impact these days. 

Perhaps having a National Brussel Sprouts Week bumps sales a bit for a few days, but people soon realize the mini cabbages aren’t that good unless drenched in gooey cheese, and go back to buying their usual mealtime fare.  

So, when the province annually designates October as Agriculture Month I’m unsure if it has a great impact. 

That said, on this one I am also conflicted. 

Having grown up on the farm, and have written about it for the past 30-plus years I recognize its critical importance, and the fading awareness from more and more people about what the industry does. 

If there was any question about the declining knowledge it was brought into focus by Sara Shymko the director of Agriculture in the Classroom when she spoke at the recent Yorkton Mill Heritage Society supper fundraiser. 

Shymko related how in her role with Agriculture in the Classroom she was handing out seeds students could take home and plant when one young student came up and asked for seeds for cheese. At that moment she said she fully understood the need for her organization.  

That seems ridiculous in a province where everywhere you travel you see farmland, and so much of the business of communities big and small trace back to the ag sector, but increasingly urban dwellers do not spend time on farms learning about the sector first hand. 

That is scary from the farm perspective because urban residents hold sway in provincial legislatures and the federal Parliament, and may well enact legislation which negatively impacts farming based on a lack of understanding about the agriculture industry. 

So, when in a release Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit stated, "Saskatchewan's agriculture industry cannot thrive without the dedicated individuals that make up the value-chain. They have a passion for producing the healthy, affordable food that we share with our families everyday. I encourage everyone to show support by celebrating this innovative, resilient and sustainable industry,” there is more to it than rhetoric. 

We need to have an appreciation for those who produce our food.

So maybe an annual nudge in that direction by designating a month is part of growing that appreciation. 

But, ultimately it is finding a way to reconnect more people with where their food comes from. 

That is where having school tours at events such as the upcoming Grain Millers Harvest Showdown in Yorkton, or Agribition in Regina come into play as important, as are the efforts of Agriculture in the Classroom. 

Education is always a key to better understanding and that includes agriculture.