Ep #1 – Don Gregorwich – The Land of Opportunity

Introducing the Rural Opportunities Podcast, a show that explores the potential and challenges of rural communities. Join host Megan Lethbridge as she engages in conversations with influential figures shaping rural areas. In this episode, Megan interviews Don Gregorwhich, former Reeve of Camrose County, who shares his experiences and insights before retiring. Don discusses the transition from a counsellor to Reeve, the demands of the role, and passing the torch to the county’s first female Reeve, Cindy Troutman. He also delves into his upbringing on a farm, his educational journey, and his successful hog farming venture. 

Don highlights the importance of community bonding in rural areas, dealing with misinformation in the age of social media, and the opportunities emerging for small-scale agricultural operations. He emphasizes the value of rural living, including the close-knit community, connection with nature, and opportunities for youth engagement. Don also addresses the challenges faced by rural communities, such as adapting to demographic changes and ensuring access to reliable internet. 

Discover the charm and potential of rural living in this engaging episode.

Episode Transcription

Megan Lethbridge: Welcome to the Rural Opportunities Podcast, where we talk about all things rural. This podcast is put on by the Camrose Regional exhibition. We are an agriculture society and we are community builders. We have a long, rich history of rural community and agriculture involvement. CRE believes in the power of rural communities and that they’re vital to the prosperity of our province and beyond.

Megan Lethbridge: On this podcast, we talk about real opportunities and challenges and have conversations with the movers and shakers of rural. Thank you for joining us. My name is Megan Lethbridge and I am the host of this Week’s Real Opportunities podcast. I’m excited to interview our first guest, former Marie at Cameron County, Don Greg Witch.

Megan Lethbridge: Don has been an active leader in the community through municipal politics. He is a great community leader with a sweet tooth and a sense of humor. Don is one of my all-time favorite people. I am honored that Don agreed to share some of his story with us before retiring this week.

Megan Lethbridge: Good morning, Don. 

Don Gregorwhich: Good morning, Megan. I’m happy to be here. 

Megan Lethbridge: Thank you for joining us on our first Ever Rural Opportunities podcast. 

Don Gregorwhich: It’s my pleasure to be here, although I’ll admit to being a bit scared by all of this. 

Megan Lethbridge: Well, it’s our first one ever, so we’re in good company. Um, so you have been one of our rural leaders for the past while, and so we’re honored that you are coming to share a bit of your story before you retire.

Megan Lethbridge: How long were you the Reeve of came county? 

Don Gregorwhich: I was three for 12 years. 12 from 200 and or 2000. And, uh, Eight, I guess till or 2007. Till 2019. Wow. That’s awesome. And previous to that, I was a county counselor for three years. 

Megan Lethbridge: Okay. And how was the transition from a counselor to the Reeve? 

Don Gregorwhich: It was demanding.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. Uh, all of a sudden you go from, uh, from a month where you might. Your time sheet might say you, you, uh, worked four or five days to, uh, 14 or 15. Mm-hmm. Wow. And, and there was a lot of thinking that went with it. That happened when you got home and you, and you thought about things and so on, because you were exposed to so many more things than you are as a regular counselor.

Don Gregorwhich: Right. 

Megan Lethbridge: Mm-hmm. You’re kind of getting things from all sides and everyone and Yes. Yeah. Absolutely. And you’ve passed the torch to Cindy Troutman now? 

Don Gregorwhich: Yes. That’s, uh, I’m so happy about that. Cindy’s our first, uh, female Reeve in Cameras county. Mm-hmm. And it looks like she’s easily going to be one of the best graves we’ve ever had.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. She’s doing a great job. Terrifically capable lady. Yeah. Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: So did you grow up around cameras? 

Don Gregorwhich: Yes. Close by. Uh, I grew up on our family’s farm out in the Kelsey District. Okay. So that’s about 20 miles southeast of here. Mm-hmm. So we, our farm was a, was a mixed farm. And, uh, you grew up as a farm kid, learning all the things you do on a farm, doing chores and watching the weather and living in a small, rural community.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. 

Megan Lethbridge: So was there a school in Kelsey? When you were younger? 

Don Gregorwhich: I missed going to school in Kelsey by one year. Okay. There was a, there was a big reorganization of the school districts and the year before I was to start school in the one room, school room in Kelsey, they closed that school and moved us all to golf.

Don Gregorwhich: Golf. Okay. Okay. So my, my schooling was in golf. I happily took 13 years of schooling there because I failed grade 12 twice. Okay. Uh, so as far as my schooling went, uh, golf was a really good place to go to school. Yeah. And it had all the good things about a, a rural community. You, you started offering grade one with a group of kids and.

Don Gregorwhich: By the time you were done grade 12, most of them were still with you. Mm-hmm. It was. It was a big family. Yep. 

Megan Lethbridge: I went to a rural school for grade five till grade nine, and that was amazing. Changed my life. Did you go on to school after grade 

Don Gregorwhich: 12? Yes. Um, my, my schooling is a bit of an adventure. As I mentioned, I, I couldn’t pass grade 12.

Don Gregorwhich: At that time, we had something called senior matriculation. Okay. And you had to get 60% in it, 60% average in your courses to be, to receive senior matriculation and to be eligible to go to university. Oh, okay. Well, At the end of my second year of, of, uh, grade 12, and I mostly went to school so I could play football in the fall mm-hmm.

Don Gregorwhich: And curl in the wintertime. Yeah. Um, I, I left school and, uh, ended up going to work on a construction co for a construction company on a gravel crusher. Okay. And I worked there for a couple of years and, and decided that maybe. There would be better jobs than working out in the gravel crusher when it was cold.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. So I went to Lindsey Thurber comps at high school in Red Deer for my third year of grade 12. Took a couple courses, uh, chemistry 30 and Physics 30, and really tried hard to pass them. Mm-hmm. Failed in both. So I never did get my matriculation, but by that time I thought, well, I’d like to try something different.

Don Gregorwhich: So I went to U of A. One day and they had an open house week. Mm-hmm. And walked around there and I thought, this is a really neat place. Mm-hmm. Anyway, the U of A wouldn’t admit me because I didn’t have my 60%. Okay. But came Lutheran College would, ah, came, Lutheran College is now Augustana. Okay. But they said, We’ll admit you because you’re an adult student.

Don Gregorwhich: I mean, I was old by that time. Okay. So I enrolled and um, they said You have to get a 6.6 average or we’ll boot you out. Okay. Anyway, I ended up the year with seven and a half. Nice. And then the U of A. Accepted me. Awesome. And so, uh, three years later I ended up with a Bachelor of Education degree. Wow.

Don Gregorwhich: Specialized in history and psychology. Okay. And so that’s, that’s how my schooling went. Mm-hmm. And then I went on to teach in Grand Cash for a while. 

Megan Lethbridge: Okay. And for a while you had a hog farm, is that right? 

Don Gregorwhich: Yes. Well, I was teaching in Grand Cash and my wife was there as well. Um, we had decided to to build a house there and told that to my folks.

Don Gregorwhich: Anyway, my dad showed up on the doorstep a couple days later and he said, instead of doing that, why don’t you come back to the farm and we’ll expand the hog operation. Mm-hmm. And so we thought about it for about 10 minutes and said, yeah, okay, we’ll do that. Didn’t do any planning, Megan, no planning at all.

Don Gregorwhich: And, uh, ended up coming back to the farm and we developed a hundred Sao Fair to finish operation. Okay. Which, uh, We, we became very successful at, uh, my, my folks were there, obviously, and my wife and I, and, uh, we, we would produce between 1500 and 1700 animals a year. Wow. And I, I really enjoyed it. And, and we became quite good at it.

Don Gregorwhich: Our, our farm one. Uh, Carcass quality awards for a number of years in a row. Okay. And so, uh, I, I didn’t know much about hog farming when I started, but I sure learned fast. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yeah. That’s awesome. So were the awards from the province or locally 

Don Gregorwhich: at the, at that time, the, uh, the industry had its own awards based on the quality of the carcass that you produced.

Don Gregorwhich: So they would take. All of the animals he sold in a year. And each animal, of course, was given a a, uh, A certain standard. Mm-hmm. So for example, they, they said the average hog is, is given 100 and it, and the scale went up to 110. And so for years we were in the 107 to 108 category. Wow. So we were in the top 20 producers in the province.

Don Gregorwhich: That’s awesome. Which, which was quite amazing cuz when you consider we were pretty new Yeah. On, on that size of scale. Mm-hmm. So it, it was a, it was a good example of, uh, the work from my folks and, uh, putting together nutrition and environment and, and genetics. Mm-hmm. And just keeping an eye on things.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. 

Megan Lethbridge: That’s incredible. So how did you end up getting involved in municipal politics? 

Don Gregorwhich: When I was in Grand Cash, I don’t recall the exact. Decision day, but I was approached to, uh, to run for town council. Okay. And, uh, so I did and, uh, got elected to it. So I was on town council at the age of 27 and, and really enjoyed it.

Don Gregorwhich: Well, when we moved back here mm-hmm. Uh, I was too busy just trying to survive to, to be interested in anything. Yeah. And, but then as the years went on, you’re involved in the community and, and you begin to come in contact with, with county decisions and so on, and you just kind of get interested in it.

Don Gregorwhich: And, um, when the, uh, previous, uh, Counselor left, he encouraged me to, to run for office and, and, uh, so there were a few people that got behind me and, and I got elected and, uh, I’ve never been unelected since then. Yeah. 

Megan Lethbridge: Wow. That’s awesome. What was the funniest thing that happened to you while you were Reeve of Cameron County?

Don Gregorwhich: Actually, two things. Okay. One was, um, being in, in one of the, uh, big Valley Jam BRE parades. Okay. And riding a bull in the parade. It was a fellow by Wita when that had a, a tame. 1800 pound bull mm-hmm. That he had trained to, uh, allow a rider. And, uh, we had a bit of a lottery here. Anyway, somehow I won the lottery and the deal was you had to ride this bull down main street in the parade.

Don Gregorwhich: So, so that was quite a thrill. And, and part of it got even funnier when, uh, of course there were all kinds of insults from people along the way. Mm-hmm. And so on. But one lady, For some reason had a tree of, uh, Cinnamon buns. Mm-hmm. And when she saw me come along, she took one and she ran out and gave it to me.

Don Gregorwhich: And she said, you have to eat this as you’re going log. So, so I did. So that, so that was, that was quite the event for me. That’s awesome. And the, and the other one actually happened in council chambers. Mm-hmm. And, uh, somebody, and we won’t mention who had taped. One of those, uh, foghorns mm-hmm. To the bottom of Trevor Miller’s chair and Trevor’s one of our counselors.

Don Gregorwhich: At that time he worked for Cargill. And so his, he was pretty pressed for time. So if the meeting started at nine 30, he usually ran in about 30 seconds to nine 30. Yeah, so this was taped under his chair. And when he came running in, and that’s how he was doing, he was running and he came running along and he jumped onto the chair and sat down and the foghorn went off and everybody broke up laughing except him.

Megan Lethbridge: So that’s awesome. That would be a shock running into a meeting late. Yeah. I’m gonna have to see if we can find a photo of you riding the bull for the Big Valley Jamberry parade. I don’t think I ever heard that story before. As someone who attends a lot of meetings, I bet there’s a lot of coffee and snacks involved.

Megan Lethbridge: What has been your favorite snack at a meeting?

Don Gregorwhich: Pastries, pastries. And it’s, and I have, uh, I’ve had a lifelong challenge with, uh, with putting on weight. So I’ve had to learn to be very careful and not try to eat every piece of pastry in the room. Yeah. But easily pastries are my favorite. 

Megan Lethbridge: Nice. Well, you can’t go wrong with good pastries. What is the hardest thing about being involved in municipal politics?

Don Gregorwhich: That’s, that’s a really good question. Uh, I, I’ve thought a lot about that and I have a couple of, couple of responses to that, and one is not more important than the other, but mm-hmm. Uh, dealing with misinformation, uh, correcting rumors that get out there, uh, communicating decisions and. The background behind those decisions to, to the average guy?

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. That, that you meet, uh, it’s, it’s so easy to to start a rumor based on misinformation. Yeah. And it can spread like wildfire and all of a sudden you have people phoning you or getting a hold of you and saying, you guys are gonna do this, this, and this. What is. What was wrong with you? Mm-hmm. And, and when you, when you explain the details to them, they say, oh, well that’s not what I heard at all.

Don Gregorwhich: You know? Mm-hmm. If that makes sense. Uh, and the, probably the most common question that I’ve been asked has been the question, have you driven down my road lately? Yeah. And you have to. Think on that for a minute and it goes a little further than, than just the person wondering about when the grader’s gonna go down his road.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Because it kind of shows that too many of us are too locked up in our own little world. Mm. And, and we don’t realize we’re part of a bigger system. Mm-hmm. And so sometimes we, we really do need somehow to, to communicate the people that look at wherever you live in, for example, CA County,

Don Gregorwhich: yes, you’re important, but there’s an entire community around you that’s asking the same question or has the same worries or the same ideas and so on. And, and, yeah. We, we need to, to think a little further than our date, right? Mm-hmm. And so that, those two things probably been the biggest challenges, I think.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: And the county hasn’t forgot about you, they just haven’t got there yet. 

Don Gregorwhich: Absolutely correct. 

Megan Lethbridge: Mm-hmm. Do you think the misinformation has become worse with social media?

Don Gregorwhich: I I in a, in a word? Yes. Mm-hmm. Uh, because it can happen instantly, right? Uh, you know, back in the day of newspaper being the, uh, the media or, or radio for example, uh, there was that time lag. For misinformation to, to develop. Mm-hmm. But now there’s no time lag and, uh, you, you can, you can start misinformation and spread it around in a, in a, in a few seconds and it can just spread like ripples on a pond.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Absolutely. Mm-hmm. So, yes, while social media is, is a terrific benefit to society, it does have a bit of a downside. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yes, it does. Yep. There are two sides to that coin. What is your favorite thing about living in a rural community? 

Don Gregorwhich: Well, there’s a, there’s a couple of things that go into that. Um, the, the good feeling you get from knowing your part.

Don Gregorwhich: Of a group of people who have the, have the same challenges mm-hmm. Who, who enjoy many of the same things as you do. Mm-hmm. Um, who are willing to work together to create something. Mm-hmm. Um, who, when you dive down the road and somebody’s coming towards you give the person a wave and they wave back.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. So, so I think the. Maybe the word is togetherness. Mm-hmm. That there’s a, there’s kind of a common bond in a rural community. Mm-hmm. You know, that doesn’t mean you go to each other’s house for, for drinks and dinner every other day, but Yeah. But you just know that there are people around you who, who are.

Don Gregorwhich: Facing the same challenge as you are, uh, who see the same sunrise and, and who, if an emergency happens, will come together. Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: Absolutely. Do you have a least favorite thing about living 

Don Gregorwhich: room? The least favorite thing? Is the lack of closeness to some of the things you’d like to do, for example, to, to, to go to, to theaters or, or sports events that are, that are large sized.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Um, that the need to travel distances. To get somewhere. Yes. And at the same time, I mean, let’s face it, there are more services in an urban community than there are in rural communities. Mm-hmm. And, uh, so, you know, while you’d like to, uh, go to a swimming pool, for example, if you have to drive 40 miles to go to a swimming pool, it’s unlikely you’re gonna do it very often.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. You gotta plan your trips. Absolutely. Mm-hmm. So, uh, you know, I guess distance becomes a factor. Mm-hmm. And, and you know, maybe that’s the thing you, you dislike the most. Yeah. You get accustomed to the gravel roads. Mm-hmm. I mean, some people go strange over having to drive on a gravel road, but mm-hmm.

Don Gregorwhich: You just accustom, you get accustomed to it and, and you deal with it. And, and that’s life. Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yep. I love taking the gravel roads, actually. Sometimes I take the long way so I can take more gravel to my parents’ house, which most people don’t 

Don Gregorwhich: say. Well, it gives you a chance to see the countryside.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. You know, there’s a, there’s a whole wonderful world out there in the country. It’s 

Megan Lethbridge: beautiful. You don’t see it all from the highway. I thought for sure, for that question. You were gonna talk about skunks. Because I know you’ve had your 

Don Gregorwhich: battle with Scotts. Uh, it’s, it’s ongoing. Yeah. And as a matter of fact, right now, I have three of them that show up to the cat’s dinner table every morning.

Don Gregorwhich: Oh my. And, uh, as I’m right on the verge of leaving, I I, there’s no way I’m gonna catch them. Yeah. But, uh, I’ve, the, the skunks and I ha over time have learned to deal with each other. Mm-hmm. I talked to them and politely suggest that they should go find another home. Yeah. Um, but, uh, I won’t, I won’t miss those guys.

Megan Lethbridge: Yeah. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing rural communities?

Don Gregorwhich: Well, I, I’ve thought about that too, and, and what I jotted down was, uh, Adapting to, to change demographically. Mm-hmm. For example, large farms, fewer young people. But at the same time, that is changing as, as, uh, our, our rural communities are beginning to be recognized as a place of opportunity mm-hmm. As a place for young families to move to.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Um, to leave city congestion. Yeah. Um, But, but the challenge remains that as far as agriculture goes, large farms are going to continue. Mm-hmm. You, you can’t reverse them. Mm-hmm. But at the same time, there’s an opportunity emerging for small op niche operations. Mm-hmm. Who c who can, who can grow food, whether it be.

Don Gregorwhich: Animal products or vegetables. Mm-hmm. Or, or horticultural products on a small scale, but it’s the scale that can, can provide a, a definite income. Yes. So, Well, there’s this contradiction. While you have the land base changing dramatically, you also have another change that’s beginning to emerge. Mm-hmm. And most of the time the the new farms are younger people.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. Which are really important to a rural community. Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: I saw a survey a couple weeks ago that was talking about where people. 25 to 35 would prefer to live even if they were living in the city. 85% of us would prefer to live in the country. We’re just not quite there yet. 

Don Gregorwhich: That’s interesting. Mm-hmm.

Megan Lethbridge: And I think Cameron County is a great example of that with the food Artisans of Cameron County and how. They’ve supported the local producers and it’s a, a great opportunity for young families, like you say, and just anybody else looking to get into agriculture but might not be able to afford acres and acres.

Don Gregorwhich: The, the, the local food, uh, program that we have in the county started. As a recognition by council that no matter the, the size of your operation, one producer is as important as another. Mm-hmm. That it doesn’t matter whether you’re the grain guy that has 5,000 acres of ground or the, or the acreage owner who, who markets, uh, a, a dozen animals a year.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. You’re, you’re still producers. And each of you are, are equally important and so should be given the same amount of attention from, from our staff and from our budget and so on, if, if possible. Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yeah. Cameron County has been a huge leader in that. What do you see as some of the biggest rural opportunities or for the future of rural?

Don Gregorwhich: I, I think, uh, to, to answer that, I think opportunity exists on a, on a number of fronts. Mm-hmm. Uh, we just talked briefly about economics, but I believe there’s, there’s opportunity economically, especially when you consider, and we talked a little bit about social media here a moment ago, but mm-hmm. And that’s dependent on having decent internet access.

Don Gregorwhich: Out in the country and yes, it’s coming. It’s, it’s not where it should be at all. Mm-hmm. It’s coming, but, but decent internet access allows people to not only keep in contact with their friends and and so on, but to market products. Mm-hmm. And, and so there’s, there’s an opportunity there. It allows people to commute.

Don Gregorwhich: Without having to drive an hour every day to go to work and sit in an office. Yeah. And that’s really valuable. And more and more that’s going to happen. Mm-hmm. Um, the, uh, the communities offer, as I said before, that, that sense of bonding mm-hmm. And see the, the chance for, for, for children and their parents to, to learn about nature.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. That it, I mean, nature’s in your, in your front yard. Mm-hmm. And it’s all of the things that, that come along with it. And that sometimes we, we take for granted, uh, Mother nature. Mm-hmm. And, you know, we, we don’t look close at the sparrow, for example. Mm-hmm. And realize that it’s a pretty neat little bird.

Don Gregorwhich: We say it’s just a sparrow. Well look closer at it. Mm-hmm. But it gives people an opportunity to, uh, to realize the world we live in. Pretty neat place. Yeah. Absolutely. 

Megan Lethbridge: Get more of a free range childhood that way. 

Don Gregorwhich: That’s, that’s an excellent. Yes. Cause I, I, I recall, uh, as a little kid that I used to drive my mother nuts because I would just go wandering.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. And we had a drainage ditch close to our place, and I used to walk up and down that drainage ditch and you, you, you saw everything in it. Well, she would never know where I was. Yeah. And she’d think I’d fallen in the grainy ditch and drowned and so on. Mm-hmm. So she’d be wild when I finally showed up at home.

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. But as you say, that was a free range kid. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yeah. Yeah. We used to do the same thing when I was little. We had a driveway that was a quarter of a mile long, and it was wild raspberries down both sides. And so we’d wake up in the morning, me and my sister, and we’d say, Hey, mom, we’re gonna go get breakfast and go eat raspberries and go play for however long, and then she’d ring the dinner bell to get us to come back in for lunch, and then we go out again.

Megan Lethbridge: It’s a pretty good way to live. 

Don Gregorwhich: Yes. It would’ve been. Mm-hmm. Absolutely. 

Megan Lethbridge: What are some of the best things you have seen to keep youth engaged in the community and in 

Don Gregorwhich: agriculture? One of the, one of the great things about youth in the community is, is the four H program. Mm-hmm. And, and especially good about four H is the fact that it is flexible, right.

Don Gregorwhich: Uh, for example, it’s just not. Cattle or, or livestock. It’s a number of things. For years, we had the first four H Drama Club in Alberta out in Kelsey. Oh. Now Kelsey’s a little place, population 12. Mm-hmm. In Community hall and in a, in a post office in little L. Yeah. But that four H Club operated for a number of years and it gathered in kids from all around the county to come to it.

Don Gregorwhich: Wow. And, and you take a look at the, uh, the four H clubs that are in Rosen, for example, and they have a variety there. So, so four H offers opportunity to urban and rural kids. Yeah. That’s, that’s a benefit. Um, I, I’m really happy to see how the ag colleges are spreading out more and more into the communities.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. And more and more of our. Of our young people are, are, are going to them. Yeah. Even if they don’t, uh, accept the fact that, or this, that’s a poor way to put it, Megan. Just because you go to AG College doesn’t mean you’re gonna come home and drive a tractor in a grain field. Right. The Ag Colleges are offering so many different opportunities F for A, for a good career in agriculture.

Don Gregorwhich: In agriculture, it has to continue to explain to people that a career in agriculture is many, many things. It mean it involves science and it involves technology, and it involves a. Whole horizon of opportunities for 

Megan Lethbridge: people. Mm-hmm. If you like finance, if you like marketing, you can do that in 

Don Gregorwhich: agriculture.

Don Gregorwhich: Absolutely. Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Yeah. Um, and I, and I think that in every community there are, there are adults who recognize that in order for. For our rural society to continue our, our young people have to get exposed to, uh, to different things and mm-hmm. And things like the internet and travel and so on.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Encourage that. Yeah. 

Megan Lethbridge: I know a lot of farms who, even if their kids are gonna take over the farm eventually one day they’re still encouraging their kids to go to school somewhere and, you know, they can learn something new and bring something back to the farm and, 

Don Gregorwhich: I, I think it’s especially valuable for, for any of us to grow that we, that we get out in the world mm-hmm.

Don Gregorwhich: And go to work for somebody mm-hmm. And, and see different things and experience different places. Mm-hmm. And for sure. And travel and look around and, and, and experience life. And because all of those things, Help develop you as a, as a person. Yeah. And, and you carry those skills with you forever. Mm-hmm.

Don Gregorwhich: Absolutely. 

Megan Lethbridge: If someone was thinking about moving to CAN County, what would you tell them about it? 

Don Gregorwhich: First off, I would say cameras, county’s a land of opportunity. Mm-hmm. That’s all there is to it. There’s something here for everybody. Mm-hmm. I mean, obviously the, the, the first thing people are gonna say, well, can I get a job there?

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Well, uh, you’re not going to get the, the wide horizon of jobs that you will in in an urban environment, but there are, there are good quality jobs out in the, in the county. Uh, and, and I’m going to put a plug in here for, for. For the county structure itself, if you take a look at, at, uh, the people who work in our county, there’s an entire variety of skills that are necessary from, from engineering to to technology to.

Don Gregorwhich: Clerical to equipment operating, it just goes on and on. Mm-hmm. So I would say to people, you know, investigative rural community, look around and see what kind of businesses there are there cuz there’s a variety of businesses. Mm-hmm. Which, which all require talented people some way or another. So when I say it’s land of opportunity, I say it’s economic and it’s also social as well.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: Very much so. There’s lots of arts and culture happening here. 

Don Gregorwhich: Yes, exactly. Mm-hmm. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yeah. Lots of things to do. I would say as a newbie to cameras myself, I would agree with that. I didn’t necessarily expect to be here as long as I have been here and I really enjoy it. So 

Don Gregorwhich: Well, we’re, we are really happy that you landed in cameras and that we’ve managed to put some glue on your feet and keep you here.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. Yeah. 

Megan Lethbridge: It’s a good place to be. You have been quite involved in the Roseland Egg Society. Why has being involved in a local AG society been important to you? 

Don Gregorwhich: Um, that’s, that’s, uh, the, the question’s a bit incorrect in that I haven’t been a, a really active member of the Ag Society, like lots of people have mm-hmm.

Don Gregorwhich: Been, been a member for a long time, go to community events and so on. And, uh, they have, one of the things about Rosen Egg is that, uh, they’re farsighted enough that they publish a newsletter every month. Mm-hmm. Which people put, uh, Items in about what’s going on and, and so on. And so my, my big effort with the Ag Society has been to write a column mm-hmm.

Don Gregorwhich: Every month. And, uh, I think we’re closing in on 10 years of columns now. Wow. And that’s, uh, that’s, that’s been a good experience. Yeah. So they’ve been doing that newsletter 

Megan Lethbridge: for 

Don Gregorwhich: a long time? Yes. Okay. Yes. It’s, you have to give credit to, uh, to the group for doing that because obviously it costs money. Yeah.

Don Gregorwhich: And yet they’ve, they’ve committed to that and they’re, they’re volunteers that are involved in physically putting it together have continued on over the years. Yeah. 

Megan Lethbridge: A lot of time put into that. Yes, I do try, if I can think farsighted enough to put our stuff in there too, and, It usually works out pretty well for us.

Megan Lethbridge: What is your favorite CRE event that you’ve attended over the years?

Don Gregorwhich: That one’s easy. It’s the bowl Congress. Bowl, Congress. Yep. And, and the reason for that is that if. If you ever wanted to get a flavor of agriculture, go to the Bull Congress. Mm-hmm. And, and the, the things I’ve enjoyed have been meeting people over the years.

Don Gregorwhich: Uh, you, you may only see them at the Bull Congress, but it seems you can take up where you left off. Right. Talking with them last year. Mm-hmm. You get to see world class animals mm-hmm. And, and top-notch operators. And there’s. A number of people from Ireland that have come here over the years mm-hmm. And, and they’ve become friends.

Don Gregorwhich: Uh, it, it’s a, it’s a social event. It’s, it’s an absolutely wonderful event for, for any community member to go to. Doesn’t matter if you raise cows or not, or if you live in, in downtown urban city. Absolutely. The, the bulk Congress is just a special event. 

Megan Lethbridge: Mm-hmm. I would agree with you. It’s a very social event.

Megan Lethbridge: There’s a lot of. Visiting that happens at that show that you don’t see in a lot of other shows and just even, I brought some of my friends out this year to see it, and they loved watching the cows, even though they’re not necessarily cow people, right? 

Don Gregorwhich: Yeah. Oh, yes. There’s a, an intangibility about the, the event that that grows on you and you walk away from it and you f and you just feel good that I was there.

Don Gregorwhich: Mm-hmm. And you, and you saw live animals and, and you, you saw the efforts that went into to looking after those animals. Mm-hmm. You saw the exhibitors from the industry that supports the mm-hmm. The beef people. Mm-hmm. It, it’s just a, a first class event. 

Megan Lethbridge: Yeah. And the youth showing their bowls and their heifers for the next generation of cattlemen and cattlewomen.

Don Gregorwhich: That’s, yes. Excellent point. Mm-hmm. Yep. It’s a cool 

Megan Lethbridge: show. I think that’s all the questions I had for you. So thank you so much for your leadership and commitment to this area in the last little while and a long while, 12 years, and you will be missed. But I thoroughly hope that you enjoy every minute of your retirement.

Don Gregorwhich: Thank you. I’m, I’m, uh, I’m looking forward to it. Mm-hmm. I’ve got boxes and boxes and boxes of pictures and slides and so on that I’m finally gonna get a chance to, uh, to go through and sort out. Mm-hmm. Um, and, uh, just kind of sitting back and taking a look at, uh,

Don Gregorwhich: The good things that have been done and looking forward to, to doing stuff in the future. Mm-hmm. Thank you for asking me to be here and yeah. Thank you so much. agricultural and yourself is, is, uh, commended for being leaders.

Megan Lethbridge: Thank you, Don. Thank you for joining us for this episode of The Real Opportunities Podcast.

Megan Lethbridge: Stay tuned next month for the release of our next episode.