Being a producer in the agricultural industry means being an advocate for it.
Lakeland College agribusiness
students learned how to be informed, passionate champions of the industry through their Agvocacy project.
Working in groups, students produced advocacy and educational media on key topics to help inform the public about the nuances of it. For students Maddison Penner and Sanne Hansen, it was an excellent opportunity to put their learning into action.
“It’s so important to any agricultural program to be able to talk about all topics and that we know how to find the resources to inform ourselves on them,” Penner, second-year agribusiness student from Vanderhoof, B.C., explains. “Now we have experience looking for proper sources to find the facts behind discussing or defending agriculture, compared to just using our own opinions. It’s really valuable.”
Penner’s group was tasked with showcasing animal handling and did so with both a video
and an article portraying proper animal handling methods as well as the financial benefits of them. Her group pooled their resources, using video clips they had already taken on their own operations, including some drone shots, and working with the purebred animals at Lakeland’s Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland for additional footage.
“A lot of people who don’t have the same connection we do to a farm or livestock operation might not see it as passionately as we do,” Penner says. “They might think that we just raise our animals for butcher and are in it for financial benefit, but that’s not it. I fell in love with beef cattle through 4-H, it gave me so much confidence showing animals and working with them. It’s something I’m really passionate about.”
The project gave her the opportunity to discuss and compare animal handling techniques both with her group members, and with other producers.
“My group and I were pretty much on the same page with animal handling and how we do things on our own operations,” she says, explaining that three of her group members raise beef cattle and one raises bison. “We’re pretty familiar with the topic. It was really neat though because we got to reach out to a lot of producers to ask them how they do things and they were on the same page as well. We are all passionate about our livestock and we want to treat them as respectfully as we can.”
Hansen’s group was tasked with promoting the role of women in agriculture
and approached it by making both a video and Instagram profiles featuring women producers.
The video features different women at work, using one word to describe how they view women in agriculture.
“Agriculture is not a gender-specific industry and we wanted to bring awareness to that. We wanted to give a platform to Lakeland women to showcase them and get their voices out there and let them share what they do in the industry,” Hansen, from Fairview, Alta., says.
“Advocacy projects like this one are really important and they’re a good learning experience. We sent out a mass call to women in the community and got so many emails back from women telling us their stories and what they do on the farm or the industry. It was so cool to see how many female alumni we have and how many women actually enrol in the agriculture program at Lakeland. It’s amazing to see what they’re doing and the different opportunities there are for me.”
Photos: Top two: Screen shots from the Animal Handling Agvocacy video. Bottom two: Screen shots from the Women in Ag video.