Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 1, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, October 1, 1974 Ric Swihart Agriculture Week. I can remember when it was Farmer's Day You could say "You've come a long way baby." Today is the kickoff for Agriculture Week and it will run for five days under the theme growing together. The idea is a week long series of events aimed at bringing about a better understanding between the urban and rural segments of society. The objective of Agriculture Week is to outline the importance and interdependence of the agricultural food industry to Albertans so they may fully appreciate the significance of agriculture to the economy of this province That fact has been presented in this column time and again and no doubt will be presented again in the future. The Agriculture Week committee has drawn up a suggested list of projects which will help to achieve the theme growing together. These include tours of farms by businessmen and school children, tours of retail stores and processing plants by rural and urban people, banquets honoring fanners, agricultural officials or rural youth and one-day or part-of-a-day interchanges between farm and city folk. And the list goes on. Some facts about agriculture in Alberta will help to shed some light on the importance of the industry. It ac- counts for about 60 per cent of the provincial economy with about 14 per cent of the province's population direct- ly employed in farming, ranching and related industries. Last year, Alberta's farmers produced more than fl billion worth of products that were refined, manufactured and distributed. To further the togetherness theme, any group in Southern Alberta can get help finding a speaker for a meeting during Agriculture Week by contacting Akos Pangor at the Alberta irrigation division at the Lethbridge Community College Science Building, telephone 328-9633 That theme of growing together might meet its hardest test Oct. 30 in Lethbridge when the Alberta En- vironment Conservation Authority holds the second of 15 public hearings into the use of pesticides and herbicides in Alberta. Some background material on the chemicals called a blessing by some sectors of society and a damnation by other sectors, suggests the material under trial in the hearings are those formulated to destroy or suppress liv- ing organisms. These are generally termed a biocide. The subject matter of the public hearings into chemical use is expected to be diverse and submissions are invited on the benefits as well as the long and short- term harmful effects that may derive from the use of these chemicals. The primary objective of the hearings is to review through public discussion the expanding federal and provincial policies and programs involving the use of chemical compounds such as pesticides and herbicides which present a threat of serious long-term environmen- tal consequences. The benefits of use are to be weighed against the hazards that may develop from continued and widespread application of these chemical compounds, so that future social and economic development will be in harmony with the goals of environmental conservation. The view presented on these and related topics at the public hearings will form the basis of recommendations on pesticide and herbicide use to the provincial government. All .citizens of Alberta have been invited to submit briefs expressing their concerns about the use of the chemicals. Today's issue of Chinook salutes Agriculture Week. Oct. 1-5. Southern Aiberta reports contained m ?his issue are. unless otherwise designated, the work of Herald agriculture writer. Ric Swihart FARMING; A 6new' way of life In Alberta, agriculture is an im- portant industry: but it's also a way of life. Most farmers will agree farming is still the greatest way to live, even though the agricultural life style has changed greatly in the last 20 years. Rural families are not as numerous, yet they're just as influential, proportionately speaking. In an earlier period of our history, the ranks of legislators, physicians and clergy were often filled with the offspring of fanners. In recent years, however, the feeling of being "just a farmer" had crept in, indicating a drop in self image, a shift from the rugg- ed individualism of our forefathers, to a somewhat unfortunate at- titude. Today, values are resurging. Many farm families know and will tell the rest of us, "we have the best of both worlds: the clean air. beauty, and a natural life, along with many benefits of urban living. We want to live here. We want also to have a viable As a result, farmers are working with the government to improve the agricultural scene economically. They're also work- ing with social scientists to unders- tand and improve their new life style. They're discovering that they have a built in self help and educational community in their family farm. They need not ex- perience the alienation inherent in big city life. Many children in urban com- munities see relatively little of their fathers and do not know or appreciate what their fathers do for a living. Farm kids see their father con- stantly. They see his managerial, technical, and social skills. On the family farm, there are more than enough chores for everyone: no need to look for things for little Johnny to do. If he doesn't do his chores it has an effect on others. Kids on the farm are like junior partners in a business enterprise: a company with large involvement in land, buildings and machinery. As a result, management and decision making skills, important to the development of a mature in- dividual, are learned early in a practical way.