The Swift Current Ag & Ex is passionate about connecting children with sustainable agricultural practices and educating them about the importance of agriculture and food security.
With its new Egg & Ex Hatching Program, a compact computerized incubator brings the circle of life right into the classroom where, with an Ova-Scope, the developing chick embryos can be easily observed throughout the incubation period.
Implemented in October, the Egg & Ex Hatching Program plays a key role in reconnecting today’s urban children with the agricultural industry that feeds them, while facilitating classroom activities and discussions about nutrition, the circulatory system, aspects of measurement and data collection, and the diverse career opportunities available within the agricultural sector. Parents and educators also benefit from this vital reconnection.
“Glenda (Allan) was hatching chicks here for Discover the Farm. Glenda then contacted the university in BC because she heard about these incubators. They’re all computerized,” explained Lenora Bells, Event Development Coordinator for the Ag & Ex. “So she talked to the Board members about it and they decided it was a valuable program and to go with it.”
The Core-Program basic package includes an incubator with a built-in computerized environmental system complete with a hatch count-down timer, with a cost of $75. The Ova-Scope egg candler is an additional $15. Each school would have access to the Egg & Ex Program package for one month.
An egg specialist will deliver the incubator, the eggs to be hatched, water for the incubator, educational materials for students, will follow up with visits, and finish by picking up the equipment along with the hatched chicks.
“It seems to be working really well. The teachers love it because you set it up and it all runs automatically on its own. After the hatching has happened, she goes and picks up the chicks and whatever eggs may not have hatched.”
Discover the Farm and Poultry & Exotic Animal Sale
Bells is also excited about the ever-expanding Discover the Farm interactive educational experience for youth in Grades 1 to 5, held in conjunction with their second annual Poultry and Exotic Animal Sale in April. Included in the interactive exhibits are dairy and beef production, hogs and poultry, with educator resource activity packages also available. Children use computers to complete a quiz after each demonstration or activity.
“We’re really trying to get into the schools and involve the youth more in the programs. A new experience this year will be a Farm Safety interactive component. It’s all interactive, so the kids have something to do at each presentation. We also have a dairy cow model that they can 'milk' and there’s chick hatching.”
The Ag & Ex hopes to make this event a yearly field trip for schools in the Chinook School Division.
This year’s school field trips take place April 19 and the Poultry & Exotic Animal Sale follows on April 20. Both events are held indoors at the Stockade. The first school tour on Apr. 19 will be at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 12:30 p.m.. There is no cost for the program, but transportation and supervision are the responsibilities of participating schools.
Young Ranchman’s All Breeds Livestock Show
Also new this year is the Ag & Ex’s first ever Young Ranchman’s All Breeds Livestock Show for ages 21 and under, scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29 and held in conjunction with Ranchman’s Ridin’ and Recitin’. It will be open to both purebred and commercial cattle exhibitors. There will be conformation classes as well as showmanship, grooming, team grooming and team judging. Competitions will also include marketing, public speaking, art and photography.
To register for the Egg & Ex Hatching Program, or to pick up a registration form for Discover the Farm, contact Lenora Bells at 306-773-2944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.