During these uncertain times, Alice Rooke, a Manitoba cattle farmer, believes there is one thing which unites us all:
"Agriculture is the underdog. It’s hard to notice the similarities between us, and we always want to notice the differences. But agriculture brings us together."
Alice was born in England, where her family owned a sheep and cattle farm. In 2013, they saw an opportunity to move to Manitoba and expand their land. They moved and started a cattle and grain farm in Alexander, Manitoba. Alice says she knew she loved farming and cattle from a young age and she always wanted to work in agriculture.
“If you’re born and raised a farmer, it’s in your blood. Cattle is where my heart is.”
She believes agriculture and food are a commonality between us all, no matter the current social issues or opinions. However, Alice’s stance on cattle farming has not always been a popular one. She has faced resistance from people who believe cattle farming is inhumane. She wants those who misunderstand her career to know that all of her work is done with compassion.
“We really do care about what we do. Our animals, our crops – we take a lot of time and effort to make sure that what we do is right.”
Alice was 16 when she was chosen to participate in the Global Youth Institute in Iowa through AITC-M. She attended seminars about agriculture and sustainability. After being inspired by the program, Alice took what she learned and used her voice to educate others.
“If we as farmers don’t stand up and tell our story to youth, who else is going to?”
Alice volunteers with AITC-M events like Manitoba Ag Days, Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, and the Amazing Agriculture Adventure. Through volunteering, she has learned how to communicate with those who have opposing opinions. What was once frustrating is now a chance for her to listen and educate those around her.
“Since my involvement in AITC-M, I’m learning how to talk to people, and how to listen,” says Alice. “I want to know what peoples’ concerns are, and I want to meet their standards.”
Larissa Peitsch, Volunteer and Program Manager with AITC-M believes Alice is a stand-out volunteer, noting her many contributions to AITC-M.
“She is always willing go the extra mile. Bringing her cattle to our programs, adding personal touches to her in-person classroom presentations, being an overall great role model for students - Alice does it all,” says Larissa.
Alice’s involvement with AITC-M’s programs has encouraged her to use her voice to speak her truth. She wants to continue to educate young people and spread her message of compassion and cattle farming.
“I owe a great deal to AITC-M. I appreciate the program and what they are doing. I am so excited and honoured to be a part of their program and to be a volunteer.”
We love working with inspiring and passionate volunteers like Alice! Keep using your voice to educate others on the positive impact of agriculture in our province. Thanks, Alice!