As­pects of agri­cul­ture

Char­lot­te­town Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre open house pro­vides close-up look at this im­por­tant Is­land in­dus­try

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY KATIE SMITH

As Canada cel­e­brates its 150th an­niver­sary this year, so does the Is­land’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

To mark the an­niver­sary, the Char­lot­te­town Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre in Har­ring­ton held an open house re­cently with a num­ber of hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties for the pub­lic, in­clud­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to talk to sci­en­tists about their work, learn how new tech­nol­ogy and break­throughs cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties in agri­cul­ture and ride on a wagon through the field re­search plots to learn about new Is­land crops.

Wayne Ri­ley, re­gional com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Agri­cul­ture and Agri-Food Canada, said the event was about cel­e­brat­ing agri­cul­ture and getting in­for­ma­tion out to the pub­lic about the work be­ing done on the Is­land.

“I think peo­ple should un­der­stand the scope and di­ver­sity of agri­cul­ture on the Is­land,” he said, ad­ding the gen­eral pub­lic has a sense of the eco­nomic im­por­tance agri­cul­ture has in this prov­ince but not nec­es­sar­ily about the projects cur­rently un­der­way.

Crop diver­si­fi­ca­tion is one fo­cus, said Ri­ley, ad­ding that new crops are be­ing de­vel­oped, such as a hops yard at the Har­ring­ton lo­ca­tion.

“Any­time you have a more di­ver­si­fied in­dus­try you have a stronger in­dus­try be­cause you have more things to draw on.”

Ri­ley also hopes events, like the open house, in­tro­duce young peo­ple to agri­cul­ture and opens their eyes to the many types of jobs that are avail­able.

“We want to let young peo­ple know there’s this huge gamut of jobs out there in agri­cul­ture,” he said.

“It’s not just on the farm, but also through sci­ence, through busi­ness, through the uni­ver­si­ties. There’s all kinds of as­pects to agri­cul­ture.”

Jen­nifer MacLeod, who works as a green­house and field as­sis­tant at the Har­ring­ton cen­tre, said she was happy to have an open house be­cause a lot of peo­ple don’t know what hap­pens at the fa­cil­ity.

“I think it’s im­por­tant for the gen­eral pub­lic to see what hap­pens at the farm and to get them more in touch about where their food comes from,” she said.

“Days like this just open up the doors to see about what we ac­tu­ally do here and (the pub­lic) can ap­pre­ci­ate it a lit­tle bit more.”

MacLeod’s chil­dren also at­tended the event, in­clud­ing her 11-year-old daugh­ter, Jessie, who said she had fun and learned a lot.

“I came to see the re­search farm. I seen trac­tors and some an­i­mals and I did a cou­ple of crafts,” she said, ad­ding that when she grows up she wants to be in­volved in the sec­tor. “I want to own horses and goats.”

“I think it’s im­por­tant for the gen­eral pub­lic to see what hap­pens at the farm and to get them more in touch about where their food comes from. Days like this just open up the doors to see about what we ac­tu­ally do here and (the pub­lic) can ap­pre­ci­ate it a lit­tle bit more.”

Jen­nifer MacLeod

KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN

Ede­laine Bur­goyne, who is with the Dairy Farm­ers of P.E.I., demon­strates how to prop­erly milk a cow on “Moon­ica”, the me­chan­i­cal cow, as part of the re­cent Char­lot­te­town Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre open house.

KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN

Paul Coady gave trac­tor tours in Har­ring­ton as part of the Char­lot­te­town Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre open house.

KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN

Zi­hao Li, 7, of Strat­ford gets some tat­toos in the Kids’ Zone at the Char­lot­te­town Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre open house.

KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN

Chris­tine Noronah, an en­to­mol­o­gist with Agri­cul­ture and Agri-Food Canada, dis­plays some wire­worms, the lar­vae of click bee­tles at the Char­lot­te­town Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre.

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