There’s much discussion in agriculture about connecting with consumers. Cravings change and so do ideas about what food to eat and why. Restaurants and foodservice businesses are quick to react. Chefs and restaurant operators provide a useful barometer of the ebb and flow of consumer demand.
Widely dubbed the harvest from hell, the difficult 2019/20 crop year has complicated the lives of Alberta farmers. While hard times weigh heavily, they have produced a growing awareness of mental health issues within agriculture. Producer groups advocate for awareness as farmers and rural communities have opened up, actively embracing the once largely taboo subject. Where individuals were expected to cope on their own with issues such as anxiety and depression, this is no longer so.
The Canadian new crop missions for the latest growing season began as farmers across the Prairies struggled to get their crops out of the field. Following such a challenging harvest, the value of these wheat marketing visits to our leading customers around the world is evermore apparent. The missions are key to build and maintain relationships with our top trade partners, including China, Colombia, Japan and Nigeria.
The 43rd Parliament convened Dec. 5, 2019. By the time you read this, it’s likely the Liberal’s minority government will have survived its first confidence test following its throne speech. Although the Liberals command a solid minority, allowing them to govern with the support of any one of the three largest opposition parties, the situation adds complexity.
Renting rather than purchasing land can be a smart short- and long-term farming strategy. While it makes especially good economic sense for young, cash-strapped farmers starting out, land prices in the $3,500 to $6,000 per acre range make renting a sound strategy for established farmers as well.
Research plots dot the Prairie landscape and provide farmers a glimpse of what may come from new crop varieties in yield, disease resistance, standability and more. About the size of a pickup truck and just as numerous across Alberta, these plots are an inescapable component of agricultural research. However, dimensions and conditions continually leave something to be desired. Highly manicured and cared for by research scientists in specialized environments, the plots don’t simulate real life and that’s a real problem for farmers who farm sections, not square centimetres.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s (AAF) Green Certificate Program allows senior high students in the province to select an agriculture-focused career path. The program delivers apprenticeship-style agriculture production training that allows students to complete practical work placements in on-farm operations outside school hours.