From the Farm to the World
North, east, south and west: There’s a world out there waiting for you
Canada has developed a brand of its own when it comes to Canadian agricultural products. People around the world who eat anything labelled “Product of Canada” know they are getting a quality product. That label is sought out at grocery stores both here in Canada and worldwide.
The “Product of Canada” label creates a real opportunity to present the story of Canadian farming from a producer’s perspective, and helps create a connection to the source. When buyers feel connected to the supplier, especially with food staples, they feel confident in looking for that supplier in the future.
It is important for producers, when given the opportunity, to get out and participate in trade missions that take them overseas to meet the people who are buying Canadian agricultural products. It not only allows the buyers to ask questions about the producers’ farming operations and get an understanding of how farms are managed in Canada, but it also establishes a relationship. When Canadian growers
are given the opportunity to tell the story about their farms, their families and their crops, they take ownership of the food they are growing and selling.
Business is about building relationships and meeting face to face—farmers to buyers. Relationships between the farmers who grow the wheat, lentil, barley or canola crops, and the buyers around the world who are purchasing them, are critical for growing business—for both the grower and the buyer. Collaboration and partnerships are the new order of the day. The end results are stronger business relationships for Canada, and increased opportunities to sell our products worldwide.
Even Canadian grocery store chains are taking on similar marketing strategies here at home. In many grocery stores, when you pick up a package of meat, the label often introduces you to the farmer who grew the chicken or beef that you are buying. This allows consumers to feel better about the food they eat by knowing where it comes from. The same goes for our international customers. They, too, place importance on knowing where their food comes from, and like to have that connection back to the farmer who grew or raised it.
With growing issues around food security and being able to trace food back through the value chain, building the relationship between farmer and buyer is very important for selling Canadian agriculture products.
Creating that personal link between the farmer and the food is a key marketing trait that Canadian agriculture can turn to in the future.
Buyers really want to connect with growers. For the future of the Canadian agriculture industry, it is important for our farmers to establish relationships with our customers so they feel informed and educated about Canada, our production systems, the quality of our agriculture products for their end use and our quality-assurance systems. Building relationships is a key part of doing business today and it should remain a top priority, especially when it comes to agriculture.
Doug Cornell is the general manager of the Alberta Wheat Commission.