I joined the RCMP! Only for 24 hours…

What a fun adventure! Myself and 13 other media bloggers spent a day in the life as an RCMP cadet at Depot Division in Regina. Cadets are usually in training for 6 months, but they made an exception for us! We were called ‘M Troop” which we were told stood for “Media Troop” but it was more likely “Motley Troop.” You’ll know what I mean when you see us trying to march…

Enjoy!

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Yann Martel Loves living in Saskatchewan

Life of Pi author, Yann Martel, chose to live in Saskatoon several years ago. Why? Watch these videos to find out! He is so well-spoken, and I think you’ll be able to agree with some of his answers!

Watch this 25 second video first:

 

 

Then watch the full interview here:

 

 

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Hiking Saskatchewan’s Boreal Trail

Saskatchewan’s longest hiking trail! See what you’ve been missing out on!

 

 

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Windscape Kite Festival

Swift Current hosts an amazing festival every year – the Windscape Kite Festival. There were some pretty sweet kites in the sky, watch my video to see my favourite!

 

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Seeding with Seedmaster!

Who knew seeding could be so amazing!? I didn’t, until I tried it. Thanks for a fun day, SeedMaster!

 

 

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Farm Progress Show

 

Farm Progress Show

Did anyone else get lost a little lost at the Farm Progress Show? I did. How could I not? There was more that 1.9 million square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Just let that sink in for a second.

I did eventually find my way. After asking a few people for directions, one friendly family yelled “Follow us!” and I made it to my destination: The Farm Credit Canada Innovation Centre.

Every year companies submit their latest and greatest innovations in hopes of being chosen to display their products at the Farm Progress Show. Being chosen to exhibit a product at the show is a huge opportunity for companies. More than 45 thousand people attend the Farm Progress Show every year (over 40,000 this year) —that’s a lot of potential buyers!

 Farm Progress Show Eric Gray

 

There were at least a dozen potential buyers hovering around Eric Gray’s booth. He invented “FenderXtenders.” You know those giant high-clearance sprayers you see out in the fields during the summer? Most farmers have two sets of wheels for them – narrow ones for dry weather and wide ones for muddy, wet weather. Sounds simple enough, right? BUT there is a problem. Most sprayers are sold with only one set of narrow fenders. Why is this a problem? Because they fling mud and rocks everywhere. It is possible to buy a wider set of fenders, but they can be expensive and installation is often time consuming.

Eric has designed a way to attach an extra fender to the machine’s existing fender, doubling the width while cutting down on the installation time. Having a fender that is as wide as the wheel greatly decreases the amount of flying mud and debris.

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By cutting down on the amount of mud tossed around, nozzles are less likely to be broken, there is less corrosion caused by mud on the sprayer, and fewer man hours are spent washing a sprayer at the end of the day. The fenders also decrease the chances of spreading soil-borne diseases.

As I photographed the FenderXtenders, an observer standing beside me mentioned that one of their sprayer mirrors was recently broken by flying debris.

I don’t come from a farming background, but Eric’s idea sure seems like a good one, and others seem to think so, too!

Speaking of forward-thinking people, have you ever heard of the “Outstanding Young Farmers” program?

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It’s a Canada-wide program that celebrates the accomplishments of farmers and farm couples under the age of 40. Each year, one couple from seven regions across Canada is selected as the “Outstanding Young Farmers” of their region. Eligible nominees are judged based on a number of criteria, including progress made during their farming career; water, soil and energy conservation practices; crop and livestock production history; financial and management practices; and, contributions to their community, province and nation.

On the final day of the Farm Progress Show, the Outstanding Young Farmers of the Saskatchewan region were selected. Adrienne and Aaron Ivey from Ituna, SK took home the title. They’ve operated a mixed cattle and grain farm since 2000. Both have degrees in agriculture, and are very involved in steering committees and other group funding projects that focus on foraging and beef research.

They were surprised and honoured to be nominated and then receive the award. They both said they enjoyed looking back on the last 15 years and reflecting on how they got to where they are today.

The couple will compete for the national title against six other couples from across Canada this November in Quebec City. I wish them all the best!

I had a great time at the Farm Progress Show. It was inspiring to meet so many people who are passionate about improving agriculture through their own farming practices and through innovative new technologies.

 

 

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Talking with Torontonians!

How much does Toronto know about Saskatchewan? I found out!

 

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Ag Operator Program

You don’t need any education to be a farmer, right?

Wrong. Very wrong!

Farming has always required an intense depth of knowledge—knowledge of animal health, crop health, machinery and finances, to name a few. And let’s not forget an understanding of technology. Today farming technology is advancing at an incredibly fast pace.

Small-scale family farms have made way for large-scale family farming operations. In 2011, only 10.3 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population lived on farms. (Compare that to 61.2 per cent in the 1930s.) As a result, fewer people today are closely connected to agriculture and not many people know the ins and outs of running a farm!

This is a problem because large-scale operations still need knowledgeable, reliable workers. But where can they train them? Drum roll, please…. the Agricultural Operator Program!

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Parkland College in Yorkton has teamed up with Lakeland College and the Ministry of Agriculture to offer courses in basic agriculture operations. These courses combine online units with face-to-face, hands-on workshops. In this pilot year, classes in seeding, spraying and scouting, and harvesting are offered.

I met up with students participating in the spraying and scouting module in Yorkton last week. Check out their awesome outfits!

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There is much more to spraying than you might think. Operators must consider the mix of herbicides and pesticides they use. Too much could destroy your crops; not enough and the weeds won’t be killed! Then you’ve got to manoeuver your sprayer and contemplate questions such as: how high should the beam be? What should the PSI of each nozzle be? How do you figure out how to distribute exactly five gallons of product per acre?

Students learned the answers to all of these questions and more!

 

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Students Colin and Xander Jones recently moved to Saskatchewan from Ontario and plan on operating their own farm in the future. Frank Su is also new to Saskatchewan. He joined the course to increase his understanding of agriculture. Another student, Trista Clow, was sent to the course by her new employers, Coutts Agro, to gain knowledge in spraying and scouting. She also attended the seeding module earlier in the spring. All of the students had limited farming knowledge, and most agreed that the course offered great hands-on experience!

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For more information about the program, please click here. 

 

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Lloydminster Summer StreetFest Another Success!

What better way to kick off summer than with glitter tattoos, live music and local art?

This weekend the Border City hosted their fifth annual Summer StreetFest, a joint effort between Lloydminster’s Streetscapes and Arts Without Borders. The festival took place in downtown Lloydminster, right in the middle of 50th Avenue, known famously for its large red pillars that divide Saskatchewan from Alberta. I don’t usually wander into Alberta, being the Saskatchewanderer and all, but today was an exception!

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Tents filled with paintings, photos, pottery, jewellery and food lined 50th Avenue. The food tents may have been my favourite. What would a street festival be without the delicious smell of burgers and hot dogs wafting through the air! There were glitter and henna tattoo stations, bouncy castles and designated areas for children to express themselves through chalk. Famous Disney princesses wandered the streets, posing for photos and sharing hugs! There were also some reaaaaaaaly tall cowgirls—they wore stilts! No matter which direction you looked in, there was something to catch your attention!

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I was especially drawn to Valinda Lawson’s creations. A semi-retired teacher from the Meadow Lake area, Valinda now spends much of her time fusing glass (joining pieces of glass by partially melting them at high heat) and making beautiful stained glass pieces. She says she finds making art with glass relaxing and enjoys the opportunity to express herself creatively. “There are so many ways you can go about it,” she said. When she is designing one piece, more ideas are always popping into her head.

 

 

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Valinda has been making traditional stained glass for 30 years and fusing glass for the last seven. She also offers lessons at her home studio in Meadow Lake. Taking in three participants at a time, Valinda guides them through the steps required to create either glass fusion pieces, glass mosaics or traditional stained glass pieces. For more information, contact Valinda at VML@sasktel.net.

Lloydminster’s StreetFest wrapped up in the late afternoon and was followed by the Summer Street Dance. Local musicians hit the stage and dancing ensued. The children were the first to start dancing. They had some awesome moves!

My favourite patron of the whole event was this guy. He’s having a grand time.

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For more information, visit http://www.lloydminstertourism.ca/events/downtown-streetfest

For more photos, click here.

 

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Saskatchewanderer Meets The Tornado Hunter

Greg Johnson has a pretty sweet job. He chases storms all across North America. Even though he’s been everywhere, he picked Regina as his home base! Find out for yourself why he chose the Queen City to call home:

Greg also shares how he stays safe and why he loves hunting tornados!

 

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