Open Farm Days at Rosalind poultry barn

The Tobler family of Rosalind were just one of 143 Open Farm Days participants who opened their doors to the public on Sat. Aug. 17. Typically, their large barn holds 60,000 broiler chickens at a time. From the left, back row: Adrian Tobler, Casey Johnson, Doris Tobler, Peter Tobler and Martina Brewer. Front row: Lukas Brewer, 5, and Logan Brewer, 3. ECA Review/T.Huxley

Multiple farming and ranching operations across Alberta opened their doors to the public for an educational weekend known as Open Farm Days.

Every kind of variety under the spectrum of agriculture was present including microbreweries, grain, beef, poultry, honey, fisheries, wineries, gardens and even retail pottery.

Toblane Farms, a mixed operation consisting of broiler chickens and grain, is nestled just north of the village of Rosalind, Alta.

The family-run farm had the doors open wide for anyone to come and see what exactly happens in the Canadian poultry industry.

“I decided to get involved with Alberta Open Farm Days because it’s my way of doing my little part to advocate for the chicken industry and it’s a pretty simple avenue to do that,” said Adrian Tobler, co-owner and operator of Toblane Farms.

“It’s well advertised. I don’t have to do much, I just have to open the doors and let people in and basically answer questions.”

Alberta Chicken Producers was excited about the event as well.

They provided the Toblers with an open enclosure for easy access to interact with chicks as well as recipes and other take-home goodies for visitors to enjoy.

The Toblers raise 60,000 chickens for approximately 37 to 38 days when they reach maturity.

This eight-week cycle is done six-and-a-half times a year in two barns they currently have to house them.

Grain farming is done on the side to balance the chicken production.

“Not all of our wheat is fed but we feed our own wheat on farm so it kind of compliments each other,” said Tobler.

The farm is run by Tobler and his father, Peter with his mother, Doris at the helm as bookkeeper and administrator.

Tobler has found many benefits to being his own boss.

“Being able to wake up and have your work at your doorstep. There are pros and cons to it but just working for yourself, seeing the finished product. Being able to raise healthy Alberta chicken for Albertans and Canadians sustainably and make a profit at it at the end of the day.”

He continued, “It’s a good living. It’s a good way to raise kids, a good way to live in my opinion. You have no boss telling you what to do, you just do it. That’s the best part of it. I just like seeing things grow whether its animals or plants.”

Casey Johnson hands Logan Brewer, 3, a chick while brother Lukas Brewer, 5, continues to admire his own feathered friend during Alberta Open Farm Days on Sat. Aug. 17. ECA Review/T.Huxley

The Tobler’s originate from Switzerland, which can be traced back to 1591 on the very same farm in the neutral country.

They moved to Ontario in 1987 where they ran a dairy farm before moving to Alberta in 2002 and getting into poultry and grain farming.

Alberta Open Farm Days is a collaborative, province-wide, two-day event that allows Albertans an opportunity to experience the farm and understand where their food comes from.

It is a backstage pass to meet the farmer, experience Ag-tourism in Alberta and taste local foods direct from the producer.

The goal of the program is to showcase Alberta’s agriculture and tourism industry in a fun, engaging and meaningful manner for participants of all ages.

Open Farm Days has taken place in Canada for over 10 years, starting in the Maritimes and moving West.

This year, Alberta Open Farm Days were held on August 17-18.

This year marks the seventh annual Alberta Open Farm Days.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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