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Cultivating Community: The Berwyn Agricultural Society’s Expansion and Evolution

The Berwyn Agricultural Society is experiencing an uptick in membership this year, and the renewed energy is breeding new developments for the community.



“The society has changed over the years, and we had one of our biggest jumps in memberships this year with six new people joining,” said Melanie Elliott, President of the Berwyn Agricultural Society. “Everyone is encouraged to bring their ideas to the table, which has inspired new goals and exciting conversations.”


Operating for over 50 years, The Berwyn Agricultural Society is a group of dedicated community members who have been involved in hosting and supporting countless agricultural-related events throughout the Peace Region.


The society’s mission is to cultivate a thriving community that celebrates and promotes agriculture, sustainability and rural events. With a recent influx of new members who are motivated, eager and ready to take on bigger endeavors, the group is feeling more energized than ever to bring new ideas to life.


Elliott has been involved with the society for roughly 14 years after neighbours encouraged her to join.


Elliott has a background in agriculture and a love for horses. She started as a member of the ag society and took on the role of president two years ago.


As more people become involved in the group, Elliott is optimistic the society will be able to facilitate more events throughout the year to make an even bigger impact on the region.


“I hope to see the society continue to grow and prosper. The more events we can hold, the more people can see what a great group we have, which will hopefully encourage others to come onboard,” said Elliott.


The society has consistently hosted the same events each year, mainly Farmers’ Markets, monthly meetings, art and DIY nights and ag-related clinics or sessions at their hall in Berwyn.


Change has always been welcomed. Now there are more people to support the group’s evolution, so Elliott is looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish together.


“Our new members have brought interesting and exciting ideas with them, which has boosted us out of our rut and motivated us to try new things,” said Elliott.


The group is prepared to broaden their horizons and amplify their reach and involvement in the region. They recently became more active online with the creation of a new website and with more regular posting on social media.


“We are an agricultural society, so our focus is to get back to our grassroots,” said Elliott. “We help the community and residents with a variety of endeavors, but now it’s time to also host and promote ag-related events to show what we are really about.”


With 17 committed members, the society announced in February they will be hosting a two-day barrel racing event on July 5 and 6 called the Cash and Cans Barrel Race, which will be at the Lac Cardinal Rodeo Grounds near Grimshaw.


The event includes money, buckles and saddles for competitors to win, a supper for riders and their families and an outdoor dance, which is open to the public. It will feature beer gardens and live music by The Honey Cowboy Band.


The event will start Friday evening with three categories of riders—peewee, riders 10 years of age and younger; youth, who are 11 to 16 years of age; and open, who are riders 17 years old and up.


All riders will get to participate again starting Saturday morning, and in the afternoon there will be a Men’s Barrel Race, where many husbands, fathers and boyfriends enter on their wife’s, daughter’s or girlfriend’s horses. This event is known to be wildly entertaining.

Organizing an event of this calibre is no easy feat.


“Our members have been working hard to ensure this event is well organized. They have delegated tasks to ensure it’s a fun and entertaining weekend for competitors as well as for spectators,” said Elliott. “We also have some incredible sponsors supporting us.”


Many of the society’s members have helped facilitate large scale events before, so Elliott believes they have the potential to make this an annual event that continues to grow each year.


“We are doing everything we can to make this event successful, and our plan is to add onto it every year. The goal is to make it bigger and better, and hopefully we’ll see more people join us,” said Elliott.


Being part of an agricultural society is incredibly rewarding, and Elliott wants to encourage others to get involved in their local societies, especially if they want more community events.

“You don’t need livestock in order to join, and you don’t need a lot of extra time to volunteer,” said Elliott. “Go out, get involved and be a part of the fun that comes with sharing ideas and bringing them to life. It’s one of the best things you can do for your community.”


For more information on the Cash and Cans Barrel Race, visit the Berwyn Agricultural Society’s website at berwynagsociety.ca, follow them on Facebook or Instagram or follow the Facebook Page: Cash & Cans Barrel Race.


 

By Dani Wearden | Photography by Dani Wearden and Submitted

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