A Ponoka agricultural operation was presented a unique chance to display its niche to the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC).
Rock Ridge Dairy, also known as Bos Farm near Ponoka, was one stop on a recent RASC tour, which included its chairman Lord Vestey (born Samuel George Armstrong) of Gloucestershire, England.
It was part of an Alberta tour of delegates to the RASC’s annual conference hosted at Northlands in Edmonton Nov. 5 to 8.
Cherylynn and Patrick Bos hosted around 40 delegates — from Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Ireland — on Nov. 1 as part of a pre-conference tour, one of several held to demonstrate various agricultural practices in the region.
With the theme of this year’s conference: Connecting the World through Food, the pre- and post-tours are focused on beef, dairy, vegetable and crop operations, in addition to some of the more well-known tourist destinations such as Jasper.
Lord Vestey was impressed with what the Bos family has done, noting the operation provides something different for delegates to see.
“A lot of people like doing the pre- and post-tours so they can see parts of agriculture they may not have witnessed or known about before. Some of them have never seen a goat farm before,” he said.
“It was wonderful, incredible. We’ve all seen goat’s cheese. In fact, I’m very fond of it, but I don’t think many of us though have drank goat’s milk before because there isn’t much available. It was very interesting to see and the fact they are Canada-wide. I think it’s fantastic.”
An important aspect of the conference, Lord Vestey stated, are the valuable opportunities to network with other farmers, especially for RASC’s Next Generation.
One of those under-35 farmers on the tour was Emily Douglas, who lives and works on a sheep operation in the Scottish Borders region south of Edinburgh. The goat dairy stop was something different than what she’s experienced.
“I’ve never been around anything like this before. There are some similarities to dairies back home, but nothing on this scale,” Douglas stated, who lives on the family farm, though works at a nearby sheep farm.
“I’m very involved in the young farmers regionally and nationally, so this event is great for me because of the connections you can get from all over the world. I also hope to take back home a broader understanding of agriculture on a larger scale like you have over here.
For Patrick and Cherylynn, the experience was excellent and they enjoyed being able to showcase their business.
“The group commented they really enjoyed seeing how we ran things and how different it is. There were also a lot of really thought out questions about why we do what we do,” Cherylynn said.
“A lot didn’t know much about this part of agriculture, so it was great to share what we know with them about the industry and the dynamics of our farm.”
The only real regret the Bos’s had was not being able to spend more time with the group and gain further insights into what they do.
The RASC conference is held every two years with the 2020 version set for Norfolk, England.