The few, the productive, the ignored: What farmers need from Ottawa right now


Toban Dyck farms near Winkler, Manitoba. He’s also a columnist for the National Post. And this week’s column struck a chord with RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney.

Dyck joined the show to talk about his take on what farmers need right now, not just in light of the upcoming election, but overall as an industry, and for the long term. He says that agriculture needs leaders that “inspire and unify around the promise of agriculture.” But how do we get there?

Those in the business of agriculture know that there is tremendous work that needs to be done and could be done to better share what happens at a farm level to make a crop grow. Dyck feels that that basic understanding is part of overcoming the political blind spot many have for farmers and agriculture.

“If someone in downtown Toronto could get an understanding of what it takes to run a farm,” Dyck says, “…the whole nation would be better for it.”

Politically, farmers are often treated as an “other,” something they can’t quite figure out, he says. Farmers are few in number, but so incredibly vital to the overall productivity of Canada’s economy. They carry huge responsibility, but not a lot of clout. Can we change that? How do we change that?

If we don’t, Dyck writes: “To ignore and fail to understand the concerns behind more than one hundred million acres of farmland is shameful and would be a missed opportunity for our federal leadership candidates to inspire all of Canada around a sector that has been teeming with unrealized potential for a long time.”

Listen on for Shaun Haney and Toban Dyck’s conversation about leadership in Ottawa:

Read Toban’s column here.

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