On August 7, Red Deer County loaded up two buses full of guests for the 2019 Agricultural Tour. There were four unique stops on this year’s tour, including the Rainbow Hutterite Colony, Willow Butte Farm, the Lawrence beef cattle operation, and the Craig family mixed crop farm. The weather was just right for a great day of learning about the diverse range of agriculture right here in Red Deer County. The Ag Tour typically sells out quickly, and the 2019 version was no exception. Despite steady rain on the days prior to the tour, the sun managed to stay out for most of the day and gave people a chance to explore the different types of farms all within an hour of Red Deer. The first stop on this year’s tour was the Rainbow Hutterite Colony. Visitors were very impressed by the scale and efficiency of the operation, which included dairy, beef, hogs, chickens, mixed crops, and a very large garden area.
From there, the bus headed to Willow Butte Farm, where Kent Olson described the history of the farm, and toured guests through the crop side, while wife Janine toured visitors through an impressive horse foaling and breeding operation. After a delicious lunch at the Pine Lake Hub, the tour headed to the Lawrence beef cattle operation. There, Peter Lawrence discussed their custom grazing operation, while Doug Sawyer and Kelly Smith-Fraser both gave informative talks on the present state of the cattle industry in Alberta and Canada as a whole. The day concluded with a stop at the Craig Family farming operation. Jason Craig gave an in-depth tour of their mixed farm, and discussed some of the challenges in exporting crops to different parts of the world - each with their own rules and regulations. Mayor Jim Wood commented, “This tour has been successful for as long as I can remember. It allows people who live in urban places a chance to come out and connect with our farmers and ranchers. It also allows different producers to learn from each other and compare how things are done from one operation to another.”