Agriculture Today: A Portrait of Family Farms in Ontario is a pictorial and descriptive account of farm practices in Ontario, a self-published collaboration that has been well received by both farmers and the influx of urbanites who are taking up residence in rural areas, according to Telfer Wegg, one of the book’s three authors.
Wegg presented a slideshow at the Meaford Public Library on August 10. Agriculture Today is his fourth book showcasing but a few of his vast collection of photographs from his extensive wanderings throughout Ontario, particularly the Grey, Bruce and Huron Counties.
In 2006, he published Neustadt: The History of an Ontario Village; in 2007, Searching for Grey-Bruce; and in 2013, he collaborated with Bonnie Sitter and David Bishop on The Beauty and Bounty of Huron County.
Agriculture Today is a collaboration with Bonnie Sitter and Fred Helwig. It was five years in the making, according to Wegg, and the response has been good. He recalls his years growing up on a farm as real drudgery.
“Agriculture has changed dramatically from those days,” he said. “Ours was considered a mixed farm - dairy cows, crops, some chickens. Today, farming is specialized and highly technical. Technology has reduced the need for large families and dozens of farm labourers and changed farming practices, some might say, at a price. Bonnie, Fred, and I set out to document modern farming practices as they are today in an easy-to-read photo book, without preaching, rather simply presenting the way it is.”
Farmers are proud of what they do and every farmer has a story to tell.
“We believe that Agriculture Today validates what farmers do. With so many urban people buying up land in what has been traditionally farm country, we think it is important that they know what their farm neighbours do.”
Wegg’s presentation gave a pictorial overview of farming practices today in Ontario. His commentary highlighted the market and regulatory factors that are behind changes in livestock management and crops grown; the design features of modern day barns, storage buildings, and equipment; and the role of the agriculture service industry.
For more information on Telfer Wegg, his photography, and the four self-published books, visit weggphotos.com.
Photo: Photographer and author Telfer Wegg discusses one of his books with Cathy Dekking and Cheryl Smith during an author’s presentation at the Meaford Public Library on August 10.