let's talk farm animals

Passion for farming results in presentations by student to hundreds of fellow classmates

We think this Canadian student’s passion for farming and his willingness to talk openly to others is an inspiration. In the last few months, he has spoken to hundreds of students at a Woodstock-area high school about food and farming. Keep reading to hear Rudi’s story.

by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate.

When Rudi Spruit attended a recent conference of the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario and saw a presentation about the misinformation consumers have about agriculture and food, he knew he wanted to do something to help spread the right information. “There are lots of misconceptions. Even teachers have some. I try to encourage others to learn,” says Spruit, a young farmer from Ontario.

What has evolved from an idea formed in March has turned into a 50 minute presentation made to various classes at Spruit’s school. So far, Spruit estimates he has presented to 300 students from his 850 student school. Spruit says there are a total of between 20 and 25 farmers attending the school.

Rudi and his classmate Drew give a presentation on farming to a class at their high school.

Before the year is over, he will present to several more classes and he has also been approached to speak to a local 4-H club. Once Spruit had his plan in place for the presentation, he approached one of his teachers about talking to grade nine and 10 students. As word of his presentation has spread, he has found himself up in front of all grades at his school.

During the presentation, Spruit tries to share a general overview of agriculture, talking about how it has changed over the years and how sustainable it is. The dairy industry is his main focus, as that is his background, but he does touch on other industries as well. “I love it every time I get to go up there. It’s a passion of mine,” says Spruit.

Hog farmer Drew DeBruyn, a close friend of Spruit’s, helps with the presentations. Spruit has found some teachers and students ask questions while others just listen. He is surprised at the feedback he has been receiving, though. Since beginning the presentations, he has been stopped in the hall to answer questions and verify facts.

Spruit has lived on a farm his whole life. When he was young, his family lived in Holland, where they had cattle and pigs. At the age of seven, Spruit and his family moved to their Woodstock-area farm and began dairy farming.

Spruit is currently in Grade 12, and will be attending the University of Guelph for a degree in Animal Science this fall. After completing his degree, Spruit wants to farm.

The lessons he has learned during the past several months will stay with him, and continue to shape him. “I’m very confident I will take this with me everywhere I go. Even at the farm, I will work to make it more open to the public,” says Spruit.

Spruit is an inspiring ambassador for agriculture, and shows that there are things all people involved in farming and agriculture can do to help connect with the public as long as they want to.

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Posted by FFC on June 6th, 2011 :: Filed under Canada,Dairy cattle,Education and public awareness,Misconceptions,Pigs,Speaking out,Urban Myths
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