AGRICULTURE ON THE CUTTING EDGE
In its second big year, CrossRoads 2024 offers a vibrant selection of speakers and sessions from Jan. 29-31 at The Westin Calgary Airport. The event’s theme is “New ideas and directions: examining big picture innovation in agriculture.” This emphasis on innovation extends to a wide range of areas, including agronomy, business management, government policy and sustainability. The inaugural event attracted about 800 participants. CrossRoads is for farmers and a wide variety of agricultural professionals interested in its cutting-edge information sessions, lively and informative discussion opportunities and industry networking.
“We’re very proud to be part of the 2024 Crossroads conference,” said Antoine Bernet, president and CEO of Bayer Canada, one of the event’s two platinum sponsors. “Being part of such a forum that brings farmers together to learn is very exciting for us.”
The event’s focus on innovation was the big draw for Bayer’s support and participation, he added. “We are a research and development company, so there is innovation in everything we do. If we want to ensure farmers a great future, we must invest in innovation, and this is the type of culture we want to develop.”
Regenerative agriculture is a key part of the company’s vision for a healthy, sustainable and resilient global food system, said Bernet. A central component of such big picture innovation in agriculture is digital information and transformation, he added. Bayer’s Climate FieldView agronomic platform is one of many examples of the company’s own work in this area. Drawing upon past agronomic performance, it allows farmers to make informed decisions about their use of seed and inputs from fertilizer to chemistry. “These digital transformations will clearly be key for the future,” said Bernet.
Fellow platinum sponsor, Corteva Agriscience, has a similarly ambitious focus on new ideas, directions and technological innovation. “It’s in our bones,” said Andrea Faubert, Corteva’s Canada government and industry affairs director. “Our R&D process starts at the farm gate, where we’re taking feedback from the farmer. We know the future of food production hinges on getting new sustainable and profitable tools into the hands of farmers and ranchers.” In fact, Corteva invests nearly $4 million a day in its research and development budget, she noted. “It was the theme of CrossRoads in 2024 that compelled us to be a major sponsor.”
This approach has paid off in Corteva’s canola breeding program, said Faubert. Despite very challenging field conditions in 2023, initial canola yield results have been very encouraging. This has much to do with variety development work that includes improved shatter resistance, flea beetle control, stand establishment and “durable disease resistance” against clubroot and blackleg, she said. “It shows that when we put the right level of investment in technology, we can really bring new innovation, which brings value for farmers.”
CrossRoads is a project of the FarmTech Foundation of Alberta, which is comprised of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Grains and the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission. For more information on sessions and speakers and to purchase tickets, visit crossroadscropconference.ca.