Castor’s UFA held a free barbecue on June 9, a revived tradition spanning decades.
According to the UFA website, Farmer’s Day in Alberta was once considered a school holiday the roots of which can be traced back to 1914.
In that year, the Roseview, Alta., chapter of UFA hosted a gathering called “UFA Sunday” to provide its members, regardless of religious ties, to take part in a religious service; the idea was picked up by other chapters and spread throughout the organization.
During the 1940s, calls were raised from within the organization to expand the scope of the celebration so that all Albertans can be engaged and celebrate the contributions agriculture makes to the province.
A resolution was passed during the 1945 annual convention which was followed by the UFA lobbying the provincial government.
Eventually, Earnest Manning’s Social Credit Government proclaimed June 8 as a “Farmer’s Holiday” in 1951. The new holiday included a day off school for all students as well.
The day was celebrated on the second Friday of June for over two decades until the government then amended the Alberta School Act in 1975 giving school boards an option on whether to allow the day off school or not.
While the amendment remains in place and the traditional celebration of Farmer’s Day has fallen by the wayside, UFA Co-operative Ltd, the current incarnation of the old UFA, revived the tradition in 2010 through the hosting of “picnics, games and music” for its customers and the community members in which the organization serves.
The 2023 Castor Farmer’s Day barbecue was well attended, and even had some UFA-branded swag up for grabs through some door-prize draws.