Around 100 Grade 4 students listened closely as dairy farmer, Art Pruim, explained to them where their milk comes from.
It’s part of Ag Experience at Prairieland Park, put on by Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC).
Pruim and his family run Plum Blossom Farms east of Osler, Sask. They milk nearly 400 cows three times a day and also run a 15,000 laying hen operation.
Pruim volunteers with AITC in Saskatoon and Prince Albert to help make a connection between the farm and the younger generation.
“We are the ones that are producing the products that they will as consumers buy one day. I think it’s good for them to realize how we actually operate and that we are also stewards of the land. We do want to take care of these animals because inevitably, they’re our livelihood,” Pruim said.
The executive director of AITC Saskatchewan, Sara Shymko, said the organization started in 1994 after industry members identified “a growing gap in the understanding of young people and agriculture.”
The organization offers resources for teachers and runs out-of-school programs for students. In 2017, it was able to reach 74,000 students from 580 schools in the province.
“There’s a big wow factor with the younger kids. As the students get older into the middle years, into the high schools, there’s a broader understanding of, ‘Woah, there’s careers here that I might be interested in. There’s way more to agriculture than farming,’” Shymko explained.
Shymko said the organization helps bridge the gap between the agriculture community and the education system.
In the 1930s, one in three Canadians lived on a farm, according to Statistics Canada.
Today, it’s closer to one in 50, meaning many Canadians are a generation or two removed from the farm.
“If you’re talking about agriculture for the first time in university or as an adult, you’ll have missed the boat, because there won’t have been that engagement, that excitement, that desire to know more when they are young,” Shymko said.