By Cal Braid
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Sunny South News
The Barons and District Agricultural Society is excited to host their fifth annual Canada’s Agriculture Day Event. The event runs on Saturday, March 26 from 3:30-6 p.m. at the Barons Community Hall.
Mary Bishop is the president of the Barons and District Agricultural Society and as she prepares for her fifth Canada’s Agriculture Day, she has about twenty community members and a handful of other volunteers that have helped with the event. Her family has been farming in Barons since 1962 and her parents owned the family farm which Bishop and her own family now operate.
While Canada’s Agriculture Day usually lands in February, pandemic restrictions motivated the choice to move the event into March this year. She describes some of the goals of their celebration of this year’s Ag Day.
“We try to do something different each year. This is Canadian Ag Safety week so we’re concentrating on farm safety,” Bishop said. “Also, we’re offering some insights, tips and tricks for farmer mental health and wellness. These could help not just the farmer, but the general public as well with stresses that go along with it. We plan to have some insect and crop disease displays. Lethbridge College will be in attendance to discuss the Ag Program there if anyone is interested in an agriculture career.”
Bishop is also a member of the Barons and District Historical Society, which contributes displays related to agriculture in the area. She invites people to attend the event and discusses some of the ag displays, presentations and ag-tivities from previous events.
“We’ve done advocacy for farm commissions, beer tasting, grinding of grain in a stone mill, making bread and butter, and sauerkraut. We’ve had live chickens with various coloured eggs from the various breeds of chickens. We’ve displayed model vintage tractors. We’ve had info about new equipment. Our mainstay is grain. All different kinds of grain and info about each grain,” she said.
As a member of the historical society, Bishop points to a book that explores the region’s past: Wheat Heart of the West: A History of Barons. It’s a detailed document of the people and events that shaped the region and can be found in hardcover as well as online formats.
The Village of Barons was founded in 1909 when the Canadian Pacific Railway bought the townsite. An agent for the CPR named Charles S. Noble was appointed to sell lots in the townsite. According to the town’s website, Barons and area, “are first and foremost a wheat-producing centre. The quality of grain produced by several of Barons’ farmers won honours and awards in Chicago, Toronto, and Calgary seed fairs.”
“Barons continues to thrive as an agricultural centre. Area farmers have diversified their crops to include peas, canola, flax, barley, and new varieties of wheat like “Soft White” wheat used in pastries. Animal husbandry has also been introduced to the area with beef, chicken, and pork production as the primary industries. The diversification has led to numerous employment opportunities.”
Barons is 51 km north of Lethbridge on Highway 23 and Canada’s Agriculture Day Event takes place at Barons Community Hall- 209 Noble Street. For more info contact Mary at 403-330-6274.