By Barclay Nap
To The Haldimand Press
HALDIMAND—Haldimand County has a long history with the Junior Farmer program. The Junior Farmer program started as a way for farmers’ sons to continue the practical lessons they had learned in one-month winter courses. These courses, along with rural school fairs, were the main work of the District Representatives of the Ontario Department of Agriculture to push for the adoption of advanced agriculture techniques. The adult farmers were hesitant to listen to a government employee on how they should farm, so their children were used to get these new methods incorporated onto farms. Ontario’s venture was a first in the Western world, with successful interaction methods coming through experimenting on what worked.
Haldimand’s contribution to the history of the Junior Farmer program is extensive. This history includes a member of the executive during an attempt to form a provincial association in 1917, six delegates for an exchange to the United Kingdom, and three provincial Junior Farmer presidents. In 1914 when Junior Farmer clubs first formed, a club in Cayuga formed after a six-week course at the Town Hall in Cayuga. The information on this club was lost when the District Representative who organized the course left the county before the annual report for the county was completed. Competitions followed these early Junior Farmers, such as acre profits in oats, feeding hogs for profit, and baby beef.