Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Fieldmen from municipalities across Alberta gathered in Calgary earlier this month to learn new skills, network and get updates on various agricultural programs during the AAAF Inservice Training.

Aaron Van Beers is the President of the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen and Manager of Ag Services for Leduc County.

He says the annual event is a great opportunity for everyone, but particularly for new fieldmen.

“This is usually the first opportunity they get to meet other fieldmen from around the province and to learn from them. So a lot of times, fieldmen are considered one of the last of the jack of all trades,” says Van Beers.

He adds since their responsible for a lot of different things in their respective municipalities and this is a great place for anyone new to the program to learn.

“When you’re new to the program, you may not really know what you should and shouldn’t do.”

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Van Beers says they always have an industry day as part of their in-service training.

“It’s usually more revolving around pest control. One of the interesting ones was about biocontrol, so using insects to help control noxious and prohibited noxious weeds in Alberta and around other provinces as well.”

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They also take the time to learn from each other as part of fieldmen showcase day.

“Learning from each other where we have somebody who has an interesting take on a program or something that they do, and then they teach the rest of us about how that works, good, what’s bad, how can they improve if they were going to do it differently?”

The fieldmen will also all be in attendance at the annual Agricultural Service Board conference, which is being held in Lethbridge, January 22-24.