While many of us industry types were getting back into routine this week, the bad weather hangover in Ontario was still raging. Our own Shaun Haney got hung up in Las Vegas while trying to get to the Southwest Agricultural Conference (SWAC), and even Bern Tobin, our Ontario field editor missed the first day do to poor driving conditions (but he did get there. The first of the coverage starts rolling out today). In a nutshell, if the week involved bad roads and closed airports, it MUST be farm show season!
To that end, yours truly stepped in for RealAgriculture columnist Andrew Campbell as his flight from Ontario to Manitoba was cancelled, and that pinch-hit kicked off the busy presentation season of 2014. The hot topic this winter seems to be apps for agriculture — what’s available, how to use them, what they cost and what’s next. (I’ll be presenting on this topic, as will Shaun, at several events over the next three months, so come by and say hello!) While many in the audience will admit a bit of hesitancy when it comes to adopting technology, social media and apps for tablets and smartphones, there are many more that are still keen to find out ways to track and manage inputs, share lists and information or do quick and easy calculations all at the touch of a few buttons. The list of apps for agriculture grows each month. I’m working on post to highlight a few neat ones I’ve come across, so keep watch for that (in the meantime, add your comment below with your favourite, if you’d like).
Causing a stir this week, yesterday’s announcement by the Canola Council of Canada that set new production targets for 2025 had more than a few farmers shaking their heads, if only out of frustration over lack of movement of the big 2013 crop. If we can’t move all this canola at 40 u/ac average, why shoot for 52 bu/ac? My simplified take on it is this (more to come later): this is a plan, with goals and targets. It’s not what the CCC envisions happening this year. A vision or goal sets out a list of things to achieve — now the real work begins on getting there. And that work will involve added domestic crush, logistic solutions, agronomic advancements and more, so that this expanded production happens and happens sustainably and profitably. While the CCC’s goal is lofty, I for one am pleased to see a commodity group laying out plans and dreaming big. I’d like to see it for every crop type (I’m looking at you wheat & barley). Maybe if each group set out, on paper, their measures of success, it’d be a great starting point to identifying common pressure points (Hi, Logistics. Let’s talk!) and the ag industry could start working together on ironing out some of these wrinkles.
Well, this first full week of January kicks off more than eight full weeks of travel and conferences for the RealAgriculture team. We’ll be at CropSphere in Saskatoon next week, Ag Days after that, then at FarmTech…and that’s just January’s crop conferences (we’ll be covering some cattle conferences as well). Keep watching for all our coverage of these events, including more from TechTour, some Talking to Farmers and more!