This week is Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Agricultural Education Program has been running for 31 years. It is designed to give urban and rural youth (grades K-8) information about where the food on their table comes from by providing interactive stations and the opportunity to see animals firsthand.
Children are able to go through booths related to beef, dairy, sheep, poultry, eggs, bees, watersheds, prairie conservation, grains and oilseeds. As producers share the food story with the next generation.
The beef booth includes things like why grazing by cattle is good for the environment. One-third of agricultural land is too rough, salty or rocky to grow annual crops for human consumption. But those same grasslands can be grazed to produce high-quality protein like beef with ZIP (zinc, iron, protein), and therefore contribute to human food supplies. In addition, the vast prairies in North America evolved with large grazers and they are part of a healthy functioning ecosystem. Grasses actually store more carbon when they are grazed, than when they are ungrazed. Pastures where beef cattle graze provide bountiful habitat for wildlife, and safe nesting sights for grassland birds.
Sherri has been part of the beef booth for roughly the last 25 years. But this year, she is in Australia on an Agricultural tour. In the meantime, she has a very good team of trusted and well trained individuals to hold down the fort.
It is so rewarding to watch students make the connection between the grass and hay that they can’t eat and the yummy steak and hamburger that tastes so good! The magic all happens because a “ruminant” animal converts that forage into high quality protein.