When your coworkers work in three different provinces, it can be tough to ever actually see each other. Here at RealAgriculture, we try to get to get together whenever we can, but sometimes the weather conspires against us. And so, the blizzard that smacked around Calgary on Monday, causing travel delays and flight cancellations impacted not just attendance at Grow Canada and Farming Smarter events this week, but it also meant that instead of a face-to-face meeting, Shaun, Debra and I made the best use of technology and met mostly virtually. While actual in-person meetings are valuable, it’s amazing what you can get done with a decent Internet connection and a few programs. Through screen sharing, online note taking and Google Hangout, we accomplished what we needed without one of us even being there.
This got me thinking about how we approach meetings in general and how we get things done in agriculture. As Rick Taillieu talks about in this AgNerds episode, email, apps and tablets are saving grower groups money and time. Taking it one step further, while, again, in-person meetings are important, there’s so much that can be done from the comfort of home, eliminating the hours spent traveling, the havoc winter can wreak on plans and all those pesky hotel bills (not to mention the Conference Season 10 Pound Weight Gain). Using technology like this, I think, is a critical part of attracting younger farmers to grower group meetings and having them commit to leadership positions, as discussed in my column here. One of the major reasons given for NOT joining is the time commitment required. Could we improve that by eliminating a hunk of travel? Perhaps.
This week on RealAg, we also posted news of PotashCorp’s downsizing of North American operations, though the bulk of the job losses will happen in Saskatchewan; the latest Beef Research School talks about making genetic gains in carcass quality and the challenges in communicating the required feedback to cow-calf producers; and, the top 10 gift ideas for the rancher in your life. Debra has since wanted to add portable windbreaks, but I told her that wouldn’t fit under the tree. So…maybe for Valentine’s Day?
But on to much more fun things. Like using a GoPro (a remote camera for those not in the know) to capture amazing right-on-the-end-of-the-sprayer footage that is later compiled into a six-minute video following the Serfas family’s 2013 growing season. Hint: if you’ve got a five year old in your house who likes Mighty Machines, this is essentially the best episode they’ve ever seen. Click here to see the video.
And, finally, I wrap up this week with a challenge. Canola Council of Canada agronomist Kristin Phillips’s daughter, Bailey, was born in August with a serious virus that attacked her bone marrow and has meant several blood transfusions and that she has yet to go home. In the spirit of the season, the Phillips family is asking for our help in reaching 1,000 blood donors in Bailey’s name. As difficult as these few months of Bailey’s life has been, Kristin says they are doing well and don’t need anything — but they want, so much, to help others, and that’s exactly what a slug of blood donors can do. So, my challenge to you, is to join me in helping them reach this goal. I’ve made my appointment at Canadian Blood Services and I encourage you to do the same. Make sure when you do that you tell them this donation is for Bailey Phillips. Read more about Bailey and the 1,000 donor goal here.
Until next week,