Producing safe food, meeting high standards, and celebrating the highs and lows together on Canada's Agriculture Day

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If you’re paying attention to social media today — February 15th, 2023 — you’ll likely notice those involved in the agriculture industry are celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day across the country.

For me, personally, there’s no better way to celebrate Canadian agriculture than by catching up with farmers across the country on RealAg Radio, and seeing what they are up to — which is exactly what I got to do. And as I said on the radio show, I also will be taking some time this evening to marvel in the beauty that is the land and animals we have around here — from winter wheat sitting in dormancy, to watching our goats get ready for the kidding season shortly. It’s all beautiful, and it’s such a great industry to live and work in.

Besides the usual chatter that occurs on the weekly Farmer Rapid Fire edition of the show, I also took the opportunity to ask each of the four farmers that joined me today three different questions:

  1. What are you most proud of in Canadian agriculture?
  2. What makes agriculture in Canada different to you?
  3. What do you wish people outside the industry knew about farming?

The farmers I had today on the show were:

  • Rebecca Archibald, of Nova Scotia;
  • Kevin Buchner, of Ontario;
  • Ron Krahn, of Manitoba; andm
  • Todd Hames, of Alberta.

See how they responded to the questions, below, and be sure to check out the full episode of RealAg Radio.

Q1: What are you most proud of in Canadian agriculture?

“There’s a lot to be proud of. I think there’s quite a bit of diversity in Canadian agriculture from one side of the country to another, and even in our small province of Nova Scotia, we have a lot of different sectors in the agriculture industry here. I think that just speaks to the land we have, the various climates that we have across the country, and as well as the people that are committed to the industry. As well, the innovation that’s in the industry today to make crops even better and make the industry better as a whole.” – Rebecca Archibald

“So many people from different backgrounds can come together, to produce such high quality products.” – Kevin Buchner

“I think we’re proud that we’re all a bunch of independent farmers that are all working towards the same goal. And we all share a lot of the same values. So I think that comes out in our attitude towards how we treat our land, and we hopefully treat our people that work with us, and our families. There’s just a lot of shared values. So I think that’s good. I’d say I’m really proud of that.” – Ron Krahn

“I think the number one thing is our food supply. The safety, the quality, and the consistency of our food in Canada here. I’m really proud to think that every day is just that we’re producing the best products in the world. And that’s from livestock, through to grains, and oilseeds.” – Todd Hames

Q2: What makes agriculture in Canada different to you?

“I would like to know more about agriculture and other parts of the world. I would say I’m proud of our standards, like a lot of our production standards for dairy, horticulture, and everything in between. I feel Canada has pretty high standards that are met by our farmers to put quality food in the grocery stores for the rest of the population. I think that’s probably something that would stand out against other countries, and other parts of the world. I think our agriculture industry is pretty well established in that sense.” – Rebecca Archibald

“I think we’re a little bit farther ahead on sustainability, and thinking about the environment than most countries. I’m not saying that other countries are doing a bad job, but I think in Canada, we have that in mind, and we always factor that into our decisions.” – Kevin Buchner

“I’d argue we’re not as special as we think we are. I know that’s not very positive, and maybe a little controversial. But I think there are definitely some things that are unique about our industry. But yeah, I’m going to struggle with that one as I tend to have a contrarian view on that one.” – Ron Krahn

“We produce a really safe supply. Canada has a very good regulatory system. We have science, we have technology, we have rules of engagement. Farmers are doing a very good job there. They have to be competitive, farmers have to compete worldwide. So we’re always being innovative and trying to be as efficient as we can. We’re also using the best technology we can to produce food the safest. And that’s one of the primary producers. We have to be competitive with the world. I feel like Canadian producers, given the opportunity, can do that.” – Todd Hames

Q3: What do you wish people outside the industry knew about farming?

“There’s so many messages that the farmers are putting out there. I think farmers are doing a better and better job each day. As with getting their story out, getting their messaging out, and the consumers really seem to be noticing and appreciating farming more now. And maybe that’s just me — it’s hard to remove myself from the bubble that I’m in because my life is very much in agriculture, but it seems like people outside the industry are starting to appreciate it more. I think that’s a very important step in creating that relationship with our consumers, and having their support. Farming is not an easy thing to do. The people that do it, do it because they love it.” – Rebecca Archibald

“Just like everyone else, we have our ups and downs, and we have good days, and we have bad days. You know, a lot of the time you see about the good days on everyone’s social media pages, but there’s also a lot of bad days. It’s about just trying to remember that when you see a farmer — being patient, because they could be having a bad day too.” – Kevin Buchner

“I’ve always been told that telling our story is important. And I’m not saying spouting off the facts — as easy as it is to spout off all sorts of numbers as to what we’re doing well, in a case. I think it’s often important to show the human side of ag. And that we firmly believe that we as farmings are doing ag well. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But we live on our farms with our families, we bring our kids to work, we work exceptionally hard to do the best that we can. And we recognize that for many of us, especially in grain farming, we’re not actually growing specific food, we’re growing food ingredients. But we take care in trying to do that as best we can.” – Ron Krahn

“It’s just to have Canadians really understand that farmers really like, or love, what they’re doing — producing the highest quality food, and are proud of what they are producing. So I think sometimes, that’s what producers want to hear from the public more. Sometimes we get caught up in all the noise. But farmers really want be appreciated for what they’re producing. So I think we, as an agriculture industry, just want to bridge that gap, to help Canadians across this country just be so proud of what they are able to buy here in Canada. You are hearing that more in this buy local, buy Canadian, and that’s the story — that we’re capable of producing this food. We don’t need to go outside our borders, we can produce a lot of the food that people want, right here in Canada. I think sometimes an added cost is we forget to be positive and enjoy the moment.” – Todd Hames

Related:

Celebrate the food you love on Canada’s Agriculture Day

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