RED DEER (660 NEWS) — For the eighth year in a row, Alberta will be hosting Open Farm Days. On Aug. 14 and 15, many farms and ranches across the province are opening to the public, teaching Albertans about where their food comes from.
Among those taking part are the Hoogland family, ranchers on Majak Meadows Ranch in Red Deer.
“We’re first-generation farmers, we started with chickens to give my younger kids a chore that they would be responsible for back in 2013,” said mom Sherry-Ann Hoogland.
Since then, their herd has grown. They now have chickens, geese, turkeys, pigs, cattle, and sheep.
“We’re a relatively small farm, we have about 15 to 20 pigs a year, 50 turkeys, two batches of birds throughout the summer, we butcher about five cows a year, and we have a herd of around 80 sheep,” Hoogland said.
LISTEN: 660’s Devon Banfield speaks with Sherry-Ann Hoogland of Majak Meadows Ranch
As the years have gone by and her children have grown up, Hoogland says that interest in farming has turned towards taking care of the land.
“We feel like we are the stewards of the land. It’s our job to take care of it for future generations of our family who may become farmers as well,” Hoogland said.
They do this with a process called rotational grazing, which allows them to avoid overgrazing in their pastures.
“The animals are moved every day to a new fresh piece of grass, and they don’t come back to that piece of land for another 90 days. So, it helps with parasite control and allows the land the chance to rest and rejuvenate,” Hoogland explained.
According to the Alberta Government, rotational grazing, also known as short-duration grazing, is the most versatile way to manage pasture production and control feed quality.
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Despite farming since 2013, this is the first year that Majak Meadows is welcoming visitors for open farm days.
“We’re hosting open farm days in hopes of connecting with people, and showing them how we do sustainable agriculture,” Hoogland said.
More than 130 farms across the province are taking part in this year’s event. A full list of participants can be found here.