AFWA Farm Tour 2013

  Mary MacArthur, reporter for Western Producer (Camrose) was our intrepid tour guide. First stop was the Calgary Stampede Ranch. Located  in Click here for more

AFWA Farm Tour 2013


Mary MacArthur, reporter for Western Producer (Camrose) was our intrepid tour guide. First stop was the Calgary Stampede Ranch. Located  in Hanna, Alberta near the intersection of Hwy-9 and Hwy-36 in southeast Alberta, approx. 210 km northeast of Calgary.

The Ranch covers 21,773 acres (34 sections) and is managed by two full-time staff, four full-time managerial and administration staff, 10 to 12 part-time ranch hands as well as a consulting veterinarian/dentist and emergency services veterinarian.



Photos courtesy of Lee Hart


Megan Madden ‏@southpawmegan13 Jun All halters of retired famous bucking horses hang on the wall of @calgarystampede ranch #AFWAtour13
 “Read Lee Hart’s article, “How The Stampede gets Horses to Buck.”
 Read Mary MacArthur’s Article for the Western Producer.
Alberta Special Areas (No.s 2, 3 and 4) are public lands located in a rural municipality near Hanna. The Special Areas is a unique type of municipality with an interesting history: “Parts of southeastern Alberta were hit particularly hard by the Depression and drought of the 1930s.  In 1938, the Provincial Government established a special governing body  . . . to provide municipal services and supports in place to enable this region to recover and thrive.  Like a municipal government, the Special Areas Board looks after roads and parks, provides water and emergency services, manages public land and community pastures, and develops economic development and agricultural conservation strategies. Its boundaries outline over 5 million acres of land and are home to almost 5000 residents. See Special Areas Board Site for more information.

 The Prairie Oasis Park is the only recreational park in the Special Areas. Built on the banks of the Transalta Sheerness Generating Station cooling pond, creating a little oasis in the Special Areas. The park was a great place to stop for lunch, hosted by Trent Caskey, Acting Administrator at Special Area No. 2, and his crew.




Photos courtesy of Lee Hart

Trent also found us a local rancher for us to visit. Michelle Peake (Peake Ranching Inc.) raises Canadian Black Angus. Ivor Bernatsky ‏@MediaMessageInc13 Jun

Leaving Michele Peak’s Ranch. She is a 5th generation 22yr old rancher raising purebred Angus #AFWATour13


Photo courtesy of Lee Hart


 Photos courtesy of Lori Lavallee

After visiting with Michelle and her Dad, we headed out to tour the historic buildings of Dorothy, Alberta, including  the renovated hall, United Church, Catholic Church and museum. Our host, local history buff and B & B owner Linda Miller, talked about the bachelors of Dorothy, local CFL legends and other colourful folks and their ranching history.





 Photos courtesy of Lee Hart

The Last Chance Saloon, Rosedeer Hotel, at Wayne, Alberta was the last stop of the day. The Dayman family has owned the hotel since Wayne was a booming coal mine with about 2,500 residents. Located 14 km southeast of Drumheller, Wayne is one of the Badlands’ quirkiest places. Parts of the movie “Shanghai Noon” with Jackie Chan were filmed there, hundreds of Harley Davidson riders meet there every summer for the Wayne Rally, its saloon is one of Alberta’s only operating cowboy relics, and lastly, you have to cross eleven one-way bridges just to get there. When you arrive, plan for a meal at the Last Chance Saloon. Tobacco smoke in air, bullet holes in the walls, and if you order a steak, you barbeque it yourself on one of their outdoor grills – you really can’t get more Albertan than that.

Day 2 of the tour included visits to MDM Aquaculture Ltd (McNaughton’s fish farm).

If you go to a Chinese restaurant in Edmonton and pick your own fish out of the fish tank to eat, chances are it’s a tilapia from here. See Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance for more information about Canadian Farmed Tilapia. The McNaughton’s converted their hog barn to a fish farm about 14 years ago. The fish are raised for eight to 10 months or about 1.5-2 lbs and they’re shipped live to Asian markets around the province. The family also farms about 3,500 acres. On the side of the fish farm is an aqua culture-type greenhouse where the family grows tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber from the heat from the fish farm. Last year they grew about 650 pounds of tomatoes.





[Left] alexis kienlen ‏@alexiskienlen14 Jun Mark telling us about his aquaponics #afwatour13 farmwriters AFWA14 Jun

[Right] Megan Madden. MDM aquaculture also researches aquaponics using the waste from the tilapia to clean water/use nutrients #AFWAtour13

By all accounts the Morrin Corner Bison ranch was the highlight of the day. Bison in the Morrin area are as old as the Prairies. British surveyor Peter Fidler wrote about standing on a hill near Morrin in 1793 and estimating he could see a million bison from Drumheller north to Morrin. Art Grenville will read from Fidler’s diary while we sit on a wagon surrounded by bison in the field. Grenville switched from cattle to bison in 1996 when he got tired of calving beef cows. The animals are raised on the farm until they are ready to go to market. Most of the bison are sold to meat buyers, but about 10 bison are sold locally, including to the Last Chance Saloon. See Bison Tweets.

The last stop on the second and final day of the tour was at the Trochu Arboretum and Gardens located in the Town of Trochu approximately 80 kilometers southeast of Red Deer. Many of the trees at the arboretum were planted in 1918. The house and grounds had a few owners until it was purchased by Sandy and Mary Welbourine in 1982 – they spent six years restoring and preserving the arboretum. In 1988 it was then sold to the Town of Trochu. Paths wander between pine, plum, cherry, sumac, oak, black ash, horse chestnut and dozens more trees, shrubs and flowers. Arboretum manager Kirsty Leischner will give us a history of the arboretum while we eat lunch in the gardens or on the deck of the Sweetwater Café, the original home.


Laura Thygesen ‏@lthygesen14 Jun  Finished the day at Trochu Arboretum and Sweetgrass Cafe
Thanks to everyone who attended this tour and to our planners and sponsors! We look forward to seeing you all again next year!




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