By Nikki Jamieson
Visitors in Municipal District of Taber may have an easier time telling canola and mustard fields apart, with a little help from a sign.
In an email dated July 5, and received by the Municipal District of Taber council during their regular July 12 meeting, the chief executive officer for Agriculture for Life, Luree Williamson, asks for their support for their What’s in the Field campaign.
“I thought it was kind of interesting and would tie into some of the conversations we’ve had, as to how do we educate urban people as to crops and stuff,” said Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D.
“I just thought it was an unique idea. We’ve talked about it, how do we engage urban people in agriculture?”
The campaign aims to educate Albertans province wide by placing signs in participating farmer’s fields informing people of the crop growing/animal grazing there. That way, when Albertans travel, they can see the signs and learn what is actually in the field, along with a url link to Ag for Life’s website so they can find out more about that product.
Ag for Life has received general guidelines from Alberta Transportation, in regard to sign regulations. What they are asking the M.D. for help in is, once a producer in the area wants to participate, help in getting approval for the signs they are putting up, which will be temporary and would allow the producer to store or move them each year. Ag for Life will also feature the M.D.’s logo on their website as a collaborating partner for the program. They are also speaking support from the Alberta Municipal Districts and Counties association.
“What’s the difference, between this and (a producer) putting a little sign on their field saying, ‘Flax seed grown here’,” said Tom Machacek, M.D. councillor, noting that plenty of producers have websites. “What’s the difference between them?”
Schedule 10 of the M.D.’s land-use bylaw covers sign standards, and informational signs are allowed, stating that “Directional and informational signs of a permanent or temporary nature may be approved by the Development Authority based on the merits of each case in accordance with the standards of this schedule”. Other signage rules include no billboards are allowed, rural home properties are allowed one premises sign of a maximum of 32 square feet and one directional sign of a maximum of 16 square feet and all signs must be well kept in a safe manner.
However, all signs that lie within 1,000 feet of a highway must also comply with Alberta Transportation regulations. As Ag for Life appears to have already cleared that hurdle, all that is left is for the M.D. to provide its sign regulations and give its blessing.
Brewin believes that the proposed Ag for Life signs will be located on the fence line, and will tell what is in the field and provide a link to their website with more information on the product, such as what its uses are or can be made into.
Council made a motion to write a letter of support to Ag for Life, for the sign project.
Ag for Life is a nonprofit dedicated to building a better appreciation of agriculture and its importance in everyday life, aiming to help Albertans understand the depth and opportunity in the industry. By working with The Albertan government, community leaders and some of Alberta’s strongest corporations from various sectors — such as agri-services, energy, financial, other non-profits, farmers and ranchers — Ag for Life is committed to delivering educational programming to improve rural and farm safety and getting people to appreciate the importance of agriculture in their lives.
They wish to strengthen the sector so it remains sustainable over the years and eliminate farm accidents, injuries and fatalities.