Animal Farms of Today: Intensive Livestock Operations on Lacombe
The village of Clive is 15 km east of Lacombe. The intensive livestock industry in Alberta is very much at the center of a current societal debate and the 37 students in the Grade 9 class at Clive School studied changes in the agriculture industry.
We invited members of the community who have intensive livestock operations and also those who have raised objections to the expansion of intensive livestock operations to present to us information from their individual perspectives. In the Science program students are introduced to the concept of environmental quality and the role of science in measuring and monitoring environmental quality. Students learn that scientists have developed measurements of air, water, and soil quality. In the Social Studies program students examine how technological and economic change have a major impact on the quality of life of the Canadian citizen. Students learn how the agriculture industry has made use of new technologies to steadily adjust to the impacts of global trade on farm profitability.
A very important learning outcome for us, the students, is the development of our understanding of the decision making process in our democratic society. We are expected to be able to predict consequences of various actions. We also learn that in a democratic society it is necessary that all people involved in an issue have the opportunity to present their viewpoint before a decision is made.
We were invited by local farmers to visit their farming operations so that we could study a variety of farming practices in the area. We also invited councilors for the Country of Lacombe to come to our school and speak to us. The use of technology to collect and share information was a major part of the project. When a group of us went to visit a farm, we recorded information on videotape. We taped an interview with the farmer as we were shown around the farm. The farmer explained to us how the farming operation has changed over time. A similar process was used with the councilors though the focus of the questions were on the decision making process. In each case we had a set of prepared questions that were asked. The information on the videotape was used on this web page that was designed by the students.
This web site compiles our findings.