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Agrium donates $25,000 to Carseland Fire Hall fund

By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard

Jim Williams, Agrium’s emergency preparedness co-ordinator, County councillor Don Vander Velde, members of the Carseland Fire Department and Agrium plant manager Vinesh Kohli, pose with a cheque for $25,000 from Agrium that was donated to Wheatland Fire Services for the Carseland fire hall building fund.

Jim Williams, Agrium’s emergency preparedness co-ordinator, County councillor Don Vander Velde, members of the Carseland Fire Department and Agrium plant manager Vinesh Kohli, pose with a cheque for $25,000 from Agrium that was donated to Wheatland Fire Services for the Carseland fire hall building fund.

It was a positive evening for the entire community at Carseland as Agrium celebrated by hosting a community supper where they made various donations to the community, including a donation of $25,000 to Wheatland Emergency Services for the new Carseland Fire Hall.

 

Glen Ford, operations manager Agrium Carseland, acted as the master of ceremonies for the event.

“When we do donations, what we try and do is typically focus on kids and kids and agriculture whenever possible,” said Ford.

“We at the plant at various times have done some training with the fire department in Carseland, they have responded to our plant for different emergencies we have had, and they have always been very well accepted. They are very professional and it’s really great to be working with them,” said Ford.

“This year is a special anniversary for us, 2017 is 40 years that our plant has been in operation. I believe this is the 39th year that we have been holding this event. It’s definitely really good,” he said.

Ford encouraged members of the public to mingle and meet and greet with Agrium personnel who were in attendance.

“It’s a face you can contact at the plant if you need to,” he said.

Brief introductions were made after the supper, there were speeches by Ford and Vinesh Kohli plant manager for Agrium Carseland, before an information session where participants learned about the educational programs offered by Agrium and a performance by CCMA artist Drew Gregory.

Kohli’s speech drew on the fact that the plant has been open for approximately 40 years. He also outlined plans for the future for Agrium.

“2017 for us is a big year. We are submitting a renewal to our operating approval which means there is going to be an open house later this year,” he said.

“We love being a part of this community and we are fortunate to have such great neighbours as everybody here,” he said.

“We also have a merger of equals with Potash Corp., so this is likely the last dinner we have where we are known as Agrium. We’re probably going to be called something else at the end of this year or the beginning of next year,” he said.

In September 2016 Agrium and Potash Corp. announced a merger of equals in order to create a global supplier of crop inputs.

There were approximately 120 people who attended the community supper.

Lindsey Verhaeghe, specialist Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations, Agrium Inc., spoke of 11 education programs that Agrium works with local partners to offer to the community.

One such program was the development of a farming game application called Journey 2050 that is available to school currently.“It’s really important for us as an industry to talk to the next generation,” she said.

“Education gaming is the new way to teach. We built a farm simulation that answers the question, how will we sustain nine million people,” she said.  

The app is free and Agrium worked with schools, and industry experts to ensure the curriculum was accurate and fit standards. In the game students experience the lives of three farm families in Kenya, India and Canada.

The game is targeted at students in Grades 7 to 12.

“As they are virtually farming in these countries they have to balance their economic, social and environmental footprint, so we often talk to the students that being a rich farmer is fantastic, but if they are not taking care of their environment and giving back to the community where they are operating then the county will not be sustainable,” she said.

Verhaeghe hopes to offer the new public edition of the game in the Spring of 2017.

“Our game is going to be based on real agriculture, so it’s going to have lots of commodities, it’s based on a southern Alberta landscape. We’ve got canola. You have to trade with other countries. They are going to be able to sell their goods locally and globally. There will be different careers in agriculture,” she said.