Established in 1909, the United Farmers of Alberta played a significant role in managing rural issues, wartime production, and developing other local organizations to assist Alberta’s farming population. Originally a lobby group that gained significant influence in Alberta’s rural affairs, the U.F.A. later acted as a provincial political party throughout the 1920s. Camrose hosted many town meetings for the U.F.A. throughout the Great War Era, evident in the numerous notices printed in The Camrose Canadian newspaper. In 1913 the United Farm Women of Alberta also took root, mapping out a rural women’s suffrage agenda. One of the early meeting notices of the U.F.W.A. can be viewed below:
As a lobby group promoting the interests of Alberta Farmers, the U.F.A.’s agenda often overlapped with the Alberta Provincial Department of Agriculture in securing production throughout the war years.
Due to a shortage of pork, especially bacon, on the war front, Canadians were encouraged to increase pork production. As a response the Secretary Treasurer of the U.F.A. appealed to the Mayor of Camrose and the Camrose Town Council to remove the bylaw disallowing the raising of hogs within town limits for this very cause; “to further the country’s interest.”1 In addition to appealing town bylaws, in May of 1917 the Camrose Water Works Department also reduced its water rates in order to better equip Camrose citizens for growing gardens.2
In March of 1917, the U.F.A. held yet another meeting in Camrose at town hall. The meeting marked the formation of a local Alberta’s Farmers’ Cooperative Company Ltd., electing a brand new board of directors.3 One of the first initiatives of the new board was to purchase a new grain elevator for $8,100.4 Assisted by the U.F.A. as a body, the two scheduled to meet again at a later date to work towards improving Alberta’s rural problems.5
The question of whether the U.F.A. acted as a means of wartime propaganda also comes into play. More production and a united rural provincial effort were definitely aspects of the U.F.A.’s goals in the 1914-1918 period. Others could argue that the U.F.A. was simply promoting the best of interests for Alberta’s farmers. Perhaps a combination of the two is a more accurate representation of the U.F.A. and the U.F.W.A.’s role during the Great War.
Photo: 1919 Board of Directors. U.F.A Photo Collection. The United Farmers’ Historical Society Archives. Web. March 31, 2015. http://archives.ufa.com/galleryq=&p=1&ps=48&onlineMediaType_facet=Image&date_facet=1910s
1. The Camrose Canadian. “Council to Consider Hog Raising in Town.” Feb. 21,1918. 10.12: 1. http://www.ourfutureourpast.ca/newspapr/np_page2.aspcode=n5fp0055.jpg
2. The Camrose Canadian. “Water Rates Reduced to Aid Production.” May 17, 1917. 9.24:1. http://www.ourfutureourpast.ca/newspapr/np_page2.aspcode=n5gp1006.jpg
3. The Camrose Canadian. “Camrose Co-operative Company Organized at Recent Meeting.” March 29, 1917. 9.17:1. http://www.ourfutureourpast.ca/newspapr/np_page2.asp code=n5gp1006.jpg
4. The Camrose Canadian. “Camrose Co-operative Company Organized at Recent Meeting.” March 29, 1917. 9.17:1. http://www.ourfutureourpast.ca/newspapr/np_page2.aspcode=n5gp1006.jpg
5. The Camrose Canadian. “Camrose Co-operative Company Organized at Recent Meeting.” March 29, 1917. 9.17:1. http://www.ourfutureourpast.ca/newspapr/np_page2.asp