Fun on the farm

Bar­bie men­tor­ship pro­gram of­fers hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JOSHUA SAN­TOS

A young girl had the chance to live the farm life for a day

“She showed me how to drive a com­bine,” Jil­lian Fehr said. “She showed me all the dif­fer­ent parts on the com­bine and how they work.”

The com­pany that cre­ates the plas­tic fig­urine ‘Bar­bie’ se­lected Jil­lian for a men­tor­ship pro­gram called ‘You Can Be Any­thing.’

The con­test hopes to in­spire girls around the world to chase their pas­sion. The seven-year-old was se­lected to work with lo­cal farmer Cher­i­lyn Nagel and har­vest lentils in the field last week.

“I think it’s amaz­ing that we can of­fer a men­tor­ship type pro­gram to the next gen­er­a­tion. I’m def­i­nitely will­ing to spend some time to teach a young a girl what it’s like to be a farmer to­day,” said Cher­i­lyn Nagel, a farmer from Moss­bank.

“She’s su­per ex­cited and we’re just as ex­cited to have her here at har­vest time”

Liv­ing in Assini­boia, Fehr’s mother Jolen en­tered her into the con­test.

“We were pretty ex­cited she had the chance to do this. It’s very hands-on and very ed­u­ca­tional for her to be able to see the plant, to the seed, to what you can ac­tu­ally make with that grain,” Jolen said.

Jil­lian had the op­por­tu­nity to learn about the his­tory of the Nagel fam­ily farm and the en­tire farm-to-ta­ble process.

“We re­ally tried to show the whole pic­ture of what goes on, what we grow and how it’s con­nected,” Nagel said. “One of her favourite foods hap­pened to be mac­a­roni and we grow du­rum here, so it was great to tell her the story of our du­rum wheat that makes the mac­a­roni noo­dles.”

Watch­ing from the side­lines, Jolen was thrilled watch­ing her daugh­ter drive a com­bine with Nagel.

“I’m su­per ex­cited to see her get that chance and to see the women out here drive all this big equip­ment. I think it’s very em­pow­er­ing.” Jolen said.

Out in the fields, the two har­vested canola crops and af­ter­wards Jil­lian spent some time in the farm kitchen with her fam­ily us­ing canola oil.

As agri­cul­ture en­ters the new mil­len­nia, Nagel said it’s great to see more young peo­ple ex­plor­ing it as a po­ten­tial ca­reer.

“I think there’s a nar­row viewpoint of what it means to be a farmer but in truth there’s some­thing for ev­ery­body in this in­dus­try,” she said. “The more we can show­case the in­dus­try, the more young peo­ple are go­ing to be con­sid­er­ing agri­cul­ture as a po­ten­tial ca­reer.”

While farm busi­ness has tra­di­tion­ally been per­ceived as a ca­reer suit­able for boys, Nagel likes see­ing more girls in­ter­ested in the job.

“I think there’s a pretty strong mes­sage to­day from Bar­bie’s new theme of ‘You Can Be Any­thing’. We cer­tainly be­lieve girls can pick the ca­reer that their heart de­sires. We have two daugh­ters here on the farm and it’s im­por­tant they un­der­stand that agri­cul­ture is a po­ten­tial ca­reer for them if they choose it and for any other girls.”

As an ado­les­cent grow­ing up in Moos­bank, Nagel didn’t want to be a farmer at first.

“I didn’t think I wanted to be a farmer when I was Jil­lian’s age, but I’ve come full cir­cle and I un­der­stand this in­dus­try has more than enough op­tions for me and other girls.”

When Nagel and Jil­lian fin­ished in the field, they both sat down and en­joyed a scrump­tious meal made with pro­duce from the farm. Lentil brown­ies and chick­pea chili with a dash of lentils were on the menu.

This is not the Jil­lian’s first foray into farm­ing. At their home in Assini­boia, Jolen and Jil­lan spend am­ple time do­ing ur­ban farm­ing.

“She def­i­nitely has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in grow­ing food. We have a garden and she loves gar­den­ing with me,” Jolen said. “She’s al­ways ex­cited to pick and eat what we grow, and share what we grow in our gar­dens.”

Whether or not Jil­lian de­cides to be­come a farmer when she grows up, Jolen just hopes her daugh­ter picks a job she loves to do.

In 2016, ‘Bar­bie’ gave four young girls the op­por­tu­nity to con­sider many dif­fer­ent ca­reers.


Jil­lian Fehr poses for a photo in the fields with her Bar­bie doll.


LEFT TO RIGHT: Claire Nagel, Ad­di­son Nagel, Cher­i­lyn Nagel, Jolen Fehr, Jil­lian Fehr and Mark Fehr en­joy a time out at the Nagel farm learn­ing about agri­cul­ture.

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