And on the 8th day....
day a year, for the past thirteen years, more than hundred Farms in Quebec open their doors to welcome everyone and anyone interested in learning about farming. This gives the town folk of all ages a chance to see and smell the wonders of farm life.
Just here in the Eastern Townships there were 10 locations to visit, from Apple orchard to Dairy farms to Honey, there was no shortage of entertainment and information. Along with games, demonstrations and more, you could also try the products made onsite.
Now a days, pretty much all we see on TV is the bad going on, the open house event created by Quebec's UPA is a great opportunity for people to see the other side, and to calm the perceptions of some citizens about animal welfare and environmental issues. Take for example MarieTherese Bonnichon and Denis Carrier from Ferme Au Pied Leve who welcomed about 1,400 visitors. As people left their farm, the general comments were, they love their
animals! This farm located in Magog was happy to open their doors for the first time this year and talk "farming" with guests. They may be a small scale operation and will not feed the whole world however their ways and values are important and should be shared by all.
Even though this year the open house generated less visitors, everyone was pleased with the outcome and the Eastern Townships had the highest overall per farm visitors.
Agriculture is a must, without farming, we do not eat. It seems some forget where their "steak" comes from, or would rather just pretend not to know. What about that wonderful corn on the cob, it's great is it not? Just remember, a Farmer sat on his tractor, tiled the land, planted the seed and then cultivated it for you to be able to enjoy it with butter and salt. What about the milk you are giving your children, the milk that is making their bones grow strong. A farmer got up early, every single day and went to milk those cows. Farming is a 24 hour 7 days a week job. You do not get Holidays off, you do not get two weeks off in summer to just lay on the beach and get a tan. Instead, you work even harder in summer to make hay for your animals, going from dawn to dusk. Forget birthday parties, or pool parties, the only thing they get is a Farmer's Tan! Growing up on a farm, I had the privilege to learn to respect animals, big or small. To respect and appreciated what they give us. Of course it's a hard reality when you realize that the little calf you raise and bottle fed will now be someones meal. You know the old Chinese Proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." This says it all. In the 1960's, a Farmer fed just 26 people. Today, the average Farmer feeds 155 people.
I ask you today, and every day, when you drive by on the 143 and plug your nose because it smells like manure, say thank you Farmer, for giving us BACON, Thank you Farmer for giving us Flour, Thank you Farmer for giving us eggs.
Should my words not be enough to convince you that Farming is an important part of our lives, here is a decades-old speech
from a conservative radio broadcaster Paul Harvey that again became famous by a truck company in a super bowl commercial.
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.
"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from ' tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the selffeeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.
"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ' doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.