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Jean-Claude Vézina Par Jean-Claude Vézina

Mercredi, 12 août 2015

Agriculture, Source of Life, at the Cookshire Fair

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The organization is highlighting the importance of farm products to feed the world. It is emphasizing the necessity of the work of women and men who cultivate the soil and raise animals. It is encouraging youth to earn their living in agriculture. That's how Robert Addis, president of the Cookshire Agricultural Fair, summarizes the main points that inspire him and his colleagues. Sponsored by the Compton County Agricultural Society, the Fair is celebrating its 170th anniversary this year. It is one of the oldest fairs in Quebec.

Addis himself grew up on a farm and he's a nature lover. He is glad to tell his visitors that the animal stalls are full this year. That's a sign, he said, that farmers have become more intentional about what they are doing to improve the well-being of the population. It's worthwhile for people to take note of that. Farmers understand that their herds, their seeds, the instruments they use, and the marketing of their products require special attention. Finally, small producers are targeting local customers for their high quality products.

That's basically the philosophy that Addis promotes. All the Fair's activities gravitate around these themes. For example, the truck pulls, the tractor pulls and the horse pulls bring together agricultural artisans around events spotlighting vehicles that are their daily tools. "They like to see how they compare with each other, and they may discover tools that perform better," noted the president, who seemed aware of a certain dichotomy between the pollution caused by the vehicles and the aim of the pulls.

The Cookshire Fair takes place over three and a half days. This is an important consideration because the directors prefer that all the animals remain present on the site for the entire time. "Those, like in Quebec City, who had Holstein days, Simmental days, and so on, had to go out of business. But our having all the races present during the entire length of the event gives visitors a chance to see them," Addis explained. Then he suggested that visitors should think about coming on two days to profit fully from the event. Like last year, the farm of small animals will allow children to pet them. He thinks that this kind of contact can have positive consequences for young children.

Addis is proud to announce a new project this year. In collaboration with the Farmer's Market of Lennoxville, local truck farmers will be present to offer their produce and display the merits of this form of agriculture. It's good for the local economy, it offers fresh produce for the buyers, and it is good for the environment, too. "The time between production on the farm and delivery to the customer is short and advantageous," noted the president.

"The farmers and their workers are ready to respond to visitors' questions. Most are bilingual and they want to help people understand agriculture," Addis concluded.

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