Farmily Vacation @aginmotion

Farm families know that the line between farm and family is often blurred. And many farm families would tell you that is what makes farming such a great profession and a great way of life! (At least most of the time.)

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Ag in Motion

- a farmily vacation

We strongly believe that farming is an important profession because we are working to make the world a better place - not just for ourselves but by respecting the environment as we feed the world .

We also believe that modern farming continues to have a strong multi-generational tradition because younger generations have the willingness and the skill sets to adapt and mesh agriculture and technology. Multi-generational farm family traditions can only be built if our kids enjoy farm life and see the pleasure along side the hard work.

So, this week we set out on a Farmily vacation; combining a little time away with the Ag in Motion farm expo. If you can’t be there in person you can follow our adventures here or via social media. You can also follow @aginmotion on Instagram and Twitter or find Ag in Motion on Facebook.

#aginmotion #aim19

Coding Camp: AI in a Day

FarmFemmes’ 2019 Coding Camp registration is NOW OPEN!

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is part of our lives: from autonomous vehicles to security using facial recognition.  From online support help to the ways our food is produced AI is impacting us all! This camp will expose participants to key types of artificial intelligence AND hands on labs to apply their new skills in real-life situations.

Campers will explore three examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are in use today, and then they will personalize models for each of these AI applications.

  • Image recognition

  • Text to speech

  • Interactive Chatbots

In just one day, participants will better understand how they can use Artificial Intelligence to impact their world.  We will explore possible applications for each technology, and the opportunities and challenges that arise when teaching computers to help us interact with others.

We learn by doing, so each participant will have a Chromebook to use as they explore and personalize their own models utilizing the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform.  Collaboration and problem solving are valuable skills, so students will be encouraged to work together to design and troubleshoot their projects.

At the end of the day, parents and guardians are encouraged to watch the participants “Show what they Know”.  Prepare to be amazed at how your camper can personalize such cool tools in just one day!


WHO: camps are specifically designed for 8-16 year olds.  

WHEN/WHERE: Camps will be offered throughout the summer. 

Saturday, May 11 - PLS/Terra Point Morden/Winkler (Give Mom a Day Off! edition)

Sunday, May 12 - PLS/Terra Point Morden/Winkler (Give Mom a Day Off! edition)

Saturday, June 15 - PLS/Terra Point  (Give Dad a Day Off! edition)

Monday - Thursday June 17-20 - Wawanesa School (3:30pm - 5:30pm daily)

Monday, July 8 - Winnipeg, MB 

Tuesday, July 9 - Winnipeg, MB

Friday, July 26 - Sioux Falls, SD

Saturday, July 27 - Sioux Falls, SD

Saturday, August 10 - Brandon, MB

Sunday, August 11 - Brandon, MB


Click on Coding Camp at the top of this page or use these links for details and to register.

BMO Farm Family Award

The 2019 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is finished… but the memories are still going strong!

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We would like to say a big THANK YOU to

  • Walter, our BMO host and award presenter, for showing us a great day and being such a flexible and fun host. Of course, a big thank you to BMO for sponsoring this award and for their support of agriculture.

  • Karen, the Provincial Exhibition Marketing and Communications Manager, for answering our questions and ensuring that our day ran smoothly

  • Dan and Brydan, the ACC Interactive Media Arts students who produced the jumbo-tron video for the presentation, for being such good sports about keeping us with us in the petting zoo area! They also did a really great job of capturing our family and our farm! If you missed the video, you can watch it here.

By my toil I believe that I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, and honor that does not come to all men.
— John Nason - The Farmers Creed

Safely Raising the next 2%

In follow up to our recent post about keeping kids safe while involving them in farm life, we wanted to provide an illustration of what this means in practice.  

Recently you may have noticed Karen’s Instagram post about picking apples from a tractor bucket at our parents yard.  Here are some of the factors that were considered before any apples were picked:

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  • Experience level of the tractor operator and familiarity with the specific piece of equipment

  • Supervision (both proximity - Karen was also in the bucket - and number of supervisors)

  • Age and abilities of children (this was the first year)

  • Alternative ways to accomplish the job (ladder)

  • Length of time required to complete the task

  • Ease of children leaving the task before it is complete

  • Interest and engagement in the task

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Each day, farmers and farm extenders take numerous factors into account as they decide when and how to involve their children in farm-related activities.  This is a situation by situation analysis, because even for the same task there are variables that change from day to day. Of course, each child is also unique, so it is important to consider both the age and experience/exposure of the individual children.  To reiterate, it is always the adult’s responsibility to assess the situation and make a safe plan.

When we approach our safety plan from the perspective of wanting to involve our children and young people, we can safely teach the next generation the skills and the attitudes of farm life.  We can engage in authentic conversations about when and how to teach our kids the lessons of farming.

Feel free to comment below and share ideas of how you have modified farm tasks to involve your kids.

Vacation Mode

You may have noticed that we took last week off to enjoy some vacation time.  Our week off included some HOT weather, which was great for swimming lessons but was stressful on crops. The forecast is calling for more hot weather, and we are praying for rain.

We enjoyed a Sunday crop tour to end our vacation week and here is a look at how our sunflowers, fall rye, canola and wheat are developing.

Growing Up

I recently attended my first Welcome to Kindergarten event; in September, my oldest child will be off to Kindergarten.  Although anticipating that change leaves me with a strange feeling, it also gave me a chance to reflect on my priorities, parenting style, beliefs about education and role as a teacher.  This classroom visit really reminded me of the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum (excerpt here).  It reminded me that kids know and understand fundamental truths. And that we could all use as a reminder to live by these truths; they still apply to adults… I went back to re-read and Fulghum reminded me of a few truths that kids know, and that I would do well to remember:

Put things back where you found them. (Things that belong to people or things that belong to Nature.)

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.  (Ditto)

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. (No one can do it all by herself – no matter what it is.)

Wonder.  Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup.  The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. (Appreciate the awe and mystery of the universe.)

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.  (Oh, how easy it is to lose this – it has to be intentional or it can quickly fall away.)

(Italics are mine)

Welcome to Kindergarten is supposed to be an opportunity for children to get a taste of their new teacher and new environment.  However, it ended up being a big learning, or re-learning, day for me as well.

Knowledge is meaningful only if it is reflected in action.
— Robert Fulghum

Mother's Day

You are never too old to need your mom.  

For our Farm Femme Mom who spent countless hours, modeling, coaching, listening, advising, guiding, prompting, supporting, working behind the scenes, driving, financing, and providing a much needed kick in the rear... THANK YOU!  Thanks for teaching us how to raise our kids.  Thanks for helping us to learn when to hang on and when to let go.  Thanks for teaching us to be kind to ourselves.  And, for so many other lessons... Thanks for being the best mom you could be every day.

Love you Mom!

Click through the gallery to see how our Mom taught us to be Moms... and how to spoil grandkids in just the right ways.

How to Make the Call

It is Ag Safety Week in Canada.  We are all invested in doing the job that we love safely, so we can do it for a lifetime.  This week is a great way to practice some safety essentials before the season kicks off.

One of the things we do each year as we host trainees from various parts of the world, is explaining how 911 and emergency services work.  This means that we talk about it, but we also do mock role plays to practice the conversations.  The difficult reality of farm accidents or emergencies is that it could also be a child who must make this call.  Prevention is critical, but accidents do happen.  In those cases, preparation can be a critical component of a timely response.  So, whatever your situation, take a few moments with the children and employees on your farm to practice emergency phone calls this week.

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What to tell the dispatcher

1.       The location of the emergency.  (It helps to have a “go-to” list of land descriptions, GPS coordinates and/or emergency grid numbers in every vehicle and at home.)

2.       The type of emergency (fire, rollover, etc.) .

3.       The number of people involved.

4.       The condition of the people involved (bleeding, breathing difficulty, etc.).

5.       The type of aid that has been given (CPR, equipment shut off, etc.).

6.       If anyone else is on the scene and/or available to meet EMS at the road.

7.       Any prior medical conditions of the individuals involved.

8.       Any hazards or challenges on the way to the site (livestock present, etc.).

Do not hang up unless/until the dispatcher tells you to do so.

Making sense of farming

We all have a lot to learn about farming - no matter if you are a farmer, farm extender, farm femme, farm agvocate or farm interested - there is always something more to learn.  One of the best ways to learn new things is to learn together with kids, because of their natural curiosity and willingness to “get right into it” with all of their senses.

Here are some suggestions for getting our senses going as we learn about farming with our kids:

  • See, touch, taste and smell: make a meal together

  • See: read fiction and non-fiction books about farm-life

  • See, touch and smell: take a farm tour (Open Farm day)

  • See, touch and taste: attend a farmers market

  • See, touch and hear: attend a “touch-a-tractor” event

  • See and hear: watch farmer-created YouTube videos

  • See, touch and smell: visit a greenhouse

  • See, touch, smell and taste: plant some seeds

When we engage our senses, we increase the connections in our brain and we strengthen our learning and the memories that we are developing.  We can also increase our learning by:

  • Talking about what we are experiencing
  • Noticing similarities and differences (to personal experiences or something you have read)
  • Connecting to an emotion (through memory or empathy )
The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.
— Alexandra K Trenfor