Today guest posting on the blog is professional agrologist Ashley Glover. She is also a Certified Crop Advisor with Parrish & Heimbecker, Ltd. out of Mossleigh, Alberta. She obtained her BSc Agricultural Studies from University of Lethbridge and her current role as an agrologist requires her to spend a minimum of 70 hours annually in continuing adult education. She was born and raised in agriculture and her family history has been in agriculture for as far back as the 1800’s. She and her husband both have careers in agriculture and are raising their two toddlers on an acreage southeast of Calgary with too many barn cats and horses. When she’s not scouting fields, you can find her on the back of a horse and on Twitter.
I had the absolute pleasure of growing up rural. Both sides of my family were farmers/ranchers southeast of Calgary and I remember playing outside in the dirt and mud A LOT. There was so much freedom to explore the great outdoors. Now as a mother myself, I truly believe that a happy child is a dirty child covered in soil and grass stains. Children are natural learners and inherently creative and I remember life as a child full of such innocent wonder and curiosity for everything!
Without the freedom to fail, creativity is destroyed. Failure is a fact of life, not a way of life and even those who fail can find success, but those who quit: won’t.
I don’t know who originally stated that quote, but I love it. As an adult, I find it extremely encouraging and liberating; it says to me: “Go ahead, try something new and engage that curious inner child.” I chose a career in agriculture for three main reasons: I love to be outdoors, I wanted to work with family, and I thrive on learning. There are many great volunteer agriculture educational programs available for school children such as the Classroom Agricultural Program and Nutrients For Life, but what about for adults? Accessing adult learning in agriculture can be daunting for individuals not involved in agriculture, so I would love to share a few options where you can get started.
- College. Most agricultural colleges in Alberta offer a large amount of adult learning opportunities. For example Olds College has very accessible and affordable short courses, evening classes, distance ed, and online opportunities. They offer everything from floristry to weed identification and crop fertility to jockey training and landscape design; to name only a few.
- Twitter. This may seem to be an odd choice to learn about agriculture, but it can be a very valuable source of information if you find the right sources. For example, @FarmersOfCanada was created in 2013 with the sole purpose of giving people an up close and personal look into the daily lives of hundreds of farmers across the country. There is a new host each week and the floor is always open to discussion. Aggies love to share their experiences, so feel free to join in!
- Local Attractions. Alberta has a wonderful, rich heritage when it comes to agriculture and there are many preserved historic sites accessible to the public. One of my absolute favorites is the Bar U Ranch. The site is still run as a working ranch and the scenery is absolutely stunning! Truly a must see for the whole family.
- Online. Some excellent sites that farmers and agrologists, like myself, go to to find research include:
- Canola Council
- Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
- Canola Watch
- Certified Crop Advisor
- Canadian International Grains Institute
If you ask anyone involved in agriculture why they chose that path, I am confident that most of them would say it was because they love it and they can share it with their family. Agriculture naturally encourages creativity and is a great environment for both children & adults to learn and build self-worth. Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
My challenge to you: get your hands dirty, provoke that inner child, engage your curiosity, and consider the possibilities for you and your kids to learn about agriculture…TODAY!