Can I just say now that I am SO glad to see tail lights on this month? February may be the shortest month of the year, but the combination of wicked weather (third coldest winter on record that Manitoba has experienced), a busy schedule and a plague-like illness has made this month feel 10 days too long. But before we can kiss this month of mayhem goodbye, let’s do a quick recap of what happened This Week on RealAg.
As mentioned previously, I am plagued-riddled so the action-packed week that was planned got scaled back to a “hey, let’s just get through the week upright!” Luckily, RealAgriculture is run by a team, not just one person, so we still managed to put together some neat stuff on the site. One of my favourite interviews this week is one that Shaun Haney did with Dave Townsend of BASF. This Agronomy Geeks edition covers so much ground, I struggled to write a headline for it. Let’s put it this way, if you farm in Ontario, you should listen to it. And maybe even if you don’t. Honourable mentions got to Debra’s “How to become an auctioneer” interview with Danny Hooper (very entertaining guy!) and Shaun’s chat with Clarence Shawluk from Manitoba Harvest about hemp production. See those interviews here and here.
We got good but not great news out of Leamington yesterday, as an investors’ consortium has announced a signed-deal with Heinz to keep the scheduled-to-close-plant up and running. I say “good not great” because the deal is, as of right now, only a letter of intent and the plan sees the plant running at only about one-third capacity to start. Still, a loss of 540 jobs vs. 800 is nothing to sneeze at, and the consortium has plans for growth. See more on this story here.
Bernard Tobin, Ontario field editor and resident machinery guy, also kept Jason, our video production guy, hopping with all his coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show. If you like combines, planters, balers and other giant pieces of equipment, keep watching this page as we’ll be adding more and more machinery coverage next week. Click here to see it all!
My favourite part of the week, by far, was having the chance yesterday to spend a few hours with the Manitoba 4-H leaders group at the University of Manitoba. This is a pilot project for 4-H, where those who have surpassed the age limit for the traditional 4-H group can continue on. The group asked me to kick off their series of learning events with a few hour discussion on using social media professionally. As a 4-H AND U of M alumni, it was a pretty special evening.
And, I’ll end on a bit of a sad note. The agriculture industry lost a fantastic teacher and even better person this week with the death of Terry Tollefson. I met Tollesfson, a well-liked professor at the University of Saskatchewan, four years ago when he asked me to speak to his third-year students about careers in agriculture. I’ve been back each year since, and this year was saddened to present to the class without Terry there. Upon learning of his death, my Twitter feed was full of kind words and memories from his former students. He will be missed. His funeral is set for tomorrow. His full obituary and details of the funeral can be found here.