Agriculture Day puts spotlight on local farming

James
James McLeod
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Farming

Newfoundland farmers and representatives of the industry took part in "Ag Day in Canada," on Wednesday, celebrating farming as an industry and a way of life.

The event was put on by Farm Credit Canada (FCC), an arms-length Crown corporation that provides loans to people in the agriculture industry.

Newfoundland farmers and representatives of the industry took part in "Ag Day in Canada," on Wednesday, celebrating farming as an industry and a way of life.

The event was put on by Farm Credit Canada (FCC), an arms-length Crown corporation that provides loans to people in the agriculture industry.

"In Newfoundland, I think that the biggest thing that we want to make sure that people realize is that it is a vibrant industry," said Christine Wheaton, spokeswoman for FCC. "Basically, today is more or less to really recognize or celebrate (people in) the industry who are here and really sticking with and, you know, support them."

Two members of the agriculture industry who were at the event were Ian and Peggy McDonald, owners of Bickerstaff Nurseries in Portugal Cove.

They said that agriculture is a great untapped industry in the province, traditionally overshadowed by forestry, oil, mining and the fishery.

"We're down to less than 20 per cent of what we consume is produced here. Before we used to produce virtually all of it," Ian said. "It's an industry that's kind of forgotten."

The McDonalds said there are an array of opportunities for economically viable farming in the province, but because no one seems to know it exists, the industry continues to decline.

"I don't think people know what is available in farming as an option," Ian said. "Agriculture can probably do more for rural Newfoundland than any other industry."

Distributing "Agriculture Matt-ers" bookmarks and temporary tattoos, the FCC was trying to send the same message.

"Agriculture is important to all of us in our day to day lives and we need to understand it," Wheaton said.

"We have farmers working very hard, and maybe we should support our local producers, local being your own community, your province, and certainly on a national level."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Farm Credit Canada, Ian and Peggy McDonald

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Canada, Portugal Cove

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