international rural exchange canada farming agriculture saskatchewan manitoba alberta travel travelling exchange program agricultural livestock outbound inbound hosting travel the world discover canada host travellers ire canada anita warriner foster laurie fornwald horticulture horses cows beef learn educate education grow farm farming farmer Valerie Tufts, Board Member Valerie operates a family grain farm south of Elgin, Manitoba. She moved there in 1973 with her husband Jim to start farming with his parents. They became involved with agriculture exchange students in 1980 and have hosted every year until 2009. IRE Canada was started in 1985 and Valerie has been involved with the running of the organization ever since. Meeting young people with a love for agriculture from all over the world has been a great pleasure. Char Slager Chairperson of the Board Char & her husband Randy operate a corporate grain farm in partnership with 3 other families near Calder, Saskatchewan, where Randy's father started farming in 1937. Char became a farmer's wife in 2005 when she and Randy were married. This was the same year that they became involved with the IRE. Char is a motivational speaker and a Corporate Consultant in Human Resources. She volunteers on several boards. They have four children and four grandchildren. Having trainees on their farm is one of the great delights in Char & Randy's lives. Laurie Fornwald – Host/Trainee Contact Coordinator Laurie and her husband Dennis operate a 6700 acre grain and cattle operation located near Lampman, Saskatchewan with 2 of Dennis' brothers. Laurie has been working with IRE since June of 2011. She is also employed as an Educational Associate at Lampman School. Laurie and Dennis have three children - two in university and one in high school. Laurie especially enjoys singing and playing piano and guitar. Her other hobbies include community theatre, camping, gardening, knitting and reading. She thoroughly enjoys meeting new people. Susan Thompson (Sue) Board Secretary Sue grew up in a farming community in Idaho and met Alan Thompson, her husband, 14 years ago, when she moved to the family farm near Sangudo, Alberta. Two years ago they decided to start a Feedlot and Custom Feed, investing more into their own cattle production. Al and Sue are experiencing their first IRE trainee this year and are enjoying having him enrich their lives and work alongside them. Sue is a Director of an International home -based business and incorporates her Business into fundraisers for several non-profit organizations in her own community and other communities in Alberta. She is on the Board of Directors for the Mayerthorpe Farmers Market and Sangudo Arts for Everyone. Sue is a Fine Oil Painting Artist who prefers Painting Local Farm life, Wildlife and Agricultural Still Life and some Portraiture. Michael Green, past Chairperson of the Board Michael operates a mixed farm in south eastern Saskatchewan, combining field crops and beef cattle. He is interested in farming practices that are conducive in maintaining farm sustainability and community viability. Following an agricultural exchange experience in New Zealand in 1985, Michael has been extensively involved with providing young persons similar exchange experience opportunities. Through three exchange programs, he and his parents have hosted 17 trainees from 8 countries. Having joined IRE in 1996, he has served on the board for several years, including as chairperson. He believes that international experiences and person to person connections are very valuable in personal development and global understanding. Michael enjoys travelling, and appreciates the connections made through exchange program involvement which have provided interesting travel destinations. He also enjoys raising heritage poultry and cattle. John Pratt, Vice Chairperson John and his wife Susan live near Oakburn Manitoba with their two children, Emily and Alexander. They farm 1600 acres of grains and oilseeds. They have been with IRE since 2004 and have welcomed 8 Trainees into their home. John has been farming since 1980, initially in his home country of Scotland and now here in Canada since 2002. Susan is a farmer's daughter from New Zealand. Other Interests include playing the Bagpipes, drama and choral groups. John is also a member of the local Lions club. John and Susan believe that they have a lot of understanding to offer their trainees as they are well aware of the challenges involved in living in a country that is different in so many ways from where they grew up. Anita Warriner, Administrator Anita Warriner lives in southeast Saskatchewan. Anita is the Administrator of the International Rural Exchange, and along with her husband Foster has been a host for IRE for the last 8 years. In her spare time, Anita enjoys reading, playing the piano, cooking, and learning about health and nutrition. Foster Warriner, Board Member Foster Warriner lives near the town of Alameda in southeastern Saskatchewan. Foster and his wife Anita are organic farmers and have enjoyed being IRE hosts for the past 8 years. Foster enjoys greenhouse gardening, woodwork, reading, and following politics. Anita and Foster love being connected with the IRE program because it is such a valuable experience for hosts and trainees alike. They love to welcome guests from around the world into their home and hearts.