For our final article of Ag Appreciation Week, We're highlighting a local voice that's been farming for nearly 50 years.
Ernie Sirski is the Reeve of the RM of Dauphin. He started his ag career in 1974 and got deeper into the political aspects of it in 1991 when he helped organize one of the largest farm rallies ever held in Canada on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature.
Through that, he got deeply involved with a wide variety of national and provincial farm groups including Manitoba Pulse and Soy Bean Growers, Soy Canada, the provincial and national Canola Councils, and the board of United Grain Growers.
The culmination of this life experience allows Sirski to give us some keen insights into how Agriculture fuels communities.
"You look at our local municipality and the biggest tax base is still the agricultural land that we use and we produce the product that turns into food."
Sirski notes the reciprocal support of the industry is key to keeping community shops around.
"Things like the farm dealerships that are located in this city, we're fortunate to have 3 very good dealerships but not only that it's the small businesses on Main Street. It's the small businesses in the mall that we support. If we didn't support them, we wouldn't have them. That's the reality."
A message that Sirski sends to everyone is a message of involvement.
"I say this regularly, Get involved. Because you know what? I can't do it all, the rural municipal council can't do it all, and the staff can't do it all. But as yourself, get involved... I don't care if it's getting involved in your church, getting involved in your RM, getting involved with the Ag Society, or getting involved with your hockey club. Do something, because without that, we don't have a community."
Sirski capped off our conversation with two important reminders.
One is that if you see a producer driving farm equipment down a back road or highway, slow down and take care. Everyone deserves to get home safe at the end of the day.
"If you got time, go hug a farmer."
Thanks for joining 730 CKDM this week in our mission to send the love and appreciation that Agriculture workers deserve to them over the air and on our website.
And to the Ag workers reading this article, from everyone here at CKDM, Thank you. You're such a core aspect of our economy, our community, and life in general.
We really can't say it enough.