We introduced Grainews read-e rs to Brenda Campbell in the November issue. The 22-year-old from a cow-calf farm near Sundre, Alta., is in Denmark for a six-month working visit on a dairy. We asked her to send regular reports to tell us what she’s doing, how farming in Europe is different from farming in Alberta, and what farming tips she learns that she’d like to try back home.
HERE IS HER FOURTH INSTALLMENT, WRITTEN MARCH 15:
I had some great visits this month. The first two visits were with past trainees who had been working in Canada many years ago through the International Agricultural Exchange Association. (For more about IAEA, visit the website at www.agriventure.com.)The exciting part was they both worked in Alberta, one in Crossfield and the other in Brooks. This made our visits so much fun as we shared similar stories and pictures of Canada.
The other visits I have had were on two different farrowing barns. One farm, owned by a relative of my host family, has 1,200 sows. (The photo is of me in one of their barns.) The second pig farm was a brand new barn that will hold 2,100 sows! I have really enjoyed seeing different farms, and meeting other Danes as everyone is very friendly and happy to show me all around their farms.
ENCOURAGING YOUNG FARMERS
At our farm, my host father recently hired an inspector from the Young Farmers Association to come assess any safety risks on our farm. This is not required by law, but with many regulations in place it is very important when obtaining and renewing permits to be able to hire Danish agriculture students and foreign trainees. In Denmark, many agriculture students are looking for farms to work on as a requirement for their education. The Young Farmers Association is designed to encourage the growth of agriculture through youth. They are a resource for all youth by providing social networks and activities, apprenticeship, site safety inspections, and career and education advice. They also act a liaison between student and farmer (employer.)
Denmark also requires that anyone wishing to purchase a farm (over 30 hectares) and receive financial assistance must first complete at least four years of agriculture school (half of which is on-farm learning.) This is even the case for succession planning. All farms, even if passed through a family, have to be sold at fair market value to each generation.
I think the Danish Young Farmers Association is a fantastic group. They are completely committed to the development of youth in agriculture, which is extremely important to the future of agriculture. I believe this program could have numerous benefits in Canada as the average age of farmers is unfortunately increasing. To have such support for youth interested in agriculture could facilitate more excitement for Canadian youth and motivate more to contribute to our intriguing and dynamic industry.