Opinion: The changing conversation around food

Stating that food security is critical during the COVID-19 crisis means farm issues won’t be sidelined

Reading Time: 3 minutes On one hand, the federal government stated the obvious when it identified the food system as one of the 10 critical infrastructures supporting Canadians during the pandemic crisis. After all, who can survive without food? Nevertheless, the guidance document issued by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair sent an important signal, one that […] Read more

Minnesota farmer Zach Johnson poses for a picture with one of his fans.

Opinion: Telling them like it is on the farm

Minnesota’s Millennial Farmer doesn’t worry about telling his side of the story. He just tells people what he does

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmer Zach Johnson is smart, funny and just as comfortable posing for photos with his many fans as a sports star. But he’s not famous because he makes millions of dollars scoring points through the goal posts. His claim to fame is being an ordinary farmer — just a regular guy who makes his living […] Read more

Opinion: Corporate interest makes sustainability in agriculture tangible

Marketplace initiatives will sink or swim by virtue of consumer support

Reading Time: 3 minutes It didn’t take long for a young cattle rancher from Saskatchewan to capture the audience’s attention at the Canada 2020 National Forum on Agri-Food in Ottawa in the fall. “For me, the word ‘sustainability’ is synonymous with McDonald’s,” said Adrienne Ivey, who is part of a family corporation managing 3,000 beef cattle on a 10,000-acre […] Read more

Studies have shown millennial consumers are also more likely to spend more of their food dollar eating out. They support more artisanal and organic options as well.

Comment: Farmers as price makers instead of price takers

When their buyer said their produce was too expensive, this farm business changed the conversation

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmers are conditioned to see themselves as price-takers. They take the price that is charged for their fertilizer and seed and they take the price that’s offered for their production. But as one of the speakers at the recent Summit on Climate Action in Food Systems in Kelowna illustrated, it’s possible to overcome the “lowest […] Read more

Governments can provide tactical support in the form of subsidies, negotiating trade deals or developing new markets, but farmers are the ones on the front lines.

Opinion: Farm angst is about more than a challenging harvest

Reading Time: 3 minutes There is a palpable sense of angst in the agricultural community these days as farmers struggle with the immediate challenge of harvesting fields in weather the seems to keep turning against them. But it’s more than an exhausting harvest. All that talk they’ve been hearing in recent years about unlimited market opportunities has turned out […] Read more

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council says there are currently 16,500 jobs that can’t be filled even with the addition of 60,000 temporary foreign workers.

Comment: Agriculture needs more people and investment

Reading Time: 3 minutes Technology has always been a driving force behind productivity growth in Canadian agriculture, and the trends of mechanization and increasing farm scale have typically been associated with a need for fewer people. The threshing crews making the rounds a century ago harvesting the annual crop were replaced by tractors and threshing machines. Herbicides reduced the […] Read more

Canada is now the fifth-largest agricultural exporter in the world, aiming to become the second-largest by 2025.

Opinion: Growing Canada’s domestic market a vital strategy

Focusing less on exports and more on people could help Canada become a global super power

Reading Time: 3 minutes A street scene photographed back in Britain’s horse-and-buggy days is symbolic of how the world has traditionally looked upon Canada as a food exporter. “Canada: Britain’s granary” is boldly splayed across a decorative archway on a busy avenue. And it was a granary of sorts, just as it is today. As much as Canadians see […] Read more

Opinion: We can’t force the Chinese to buy our crops

We can, however, take steps to reduce the sector’s vulnerability to a big customer’s mood swings

Reading Time: 3 minutes Canadian canola farmers find themselves in a tough spot this spring as the snow disappears and they look across those vast empty fields, many of which, under normal circumstances, would be boasting pretty yellow flowers by mid-July. Canola surpassed wheat a few years back as the largest contributor to farm cash receipts from crops by […] Read more

Brian Tischler demonstrates how he’s able to drive his tractor autonomously using software on a laptop.

Autonomous technology hamstrung by liability risks

Just about anyone can build a self-driving implement using open source software, but “your insurance company is going to puke”

Reading Time: 2 minutes For farmer and inventor Brian Tischler, the question isn’t whether autonomous tractors are cool, possible, or useful — it’s how to overcome the liability risk if something goes wrong. Tischler told farmers attending CropConnect in Winnipeg recently it’s possible to build your own self-driving vehicle for around $1,000 using open-source software. He’s done it. That’s […] Read more

CAPI report focuses on quality of export growth

Exports are part of the agri-food sector’s journey — not the destination

Reading Time: 3 minutes There was heady excitement last year when the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, led by Dominic Barton, identified agriculture as one of six sectors that could lead this country’s economy over the next decade. The prevailing response from within the sector was that ‘finally,’ agriculture is being acknowledged for the economic powerhouse it […] Read more