I’m a big proponent of farmers speaking out, of advocacy and of standing up to activists. It’s encouraging that Don McCabe, recently elected president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said in his 2015 outlook address Friday that the federation’s advocacy role has never been more important. The same goes for beef producers. Their new… Read More

Venture capitalist Dave McClure made his mark in the branding world when he noted customers don’t care about your solutions, they care about their problems. Reflecting back then on the year that’s passing, as well as thinking towards the one ahead, it made me wonder if McClure’s approach might work for the agri-food sector, too,… Read More

Animosity and mistrust in the food system — or the “agri-food value chain,” as it’s called in some circles — is costing farmers billions of dollars in waste. At a time when the powers-that-be are urging the sector to bolster the economy by pulling together for increased jobs and exports, Oakville-based Value Chain Management International… Read More

Got a minute? That’s about all it takes to start thinking about agvocating. You never know where your commitment will lead. That’s the word from Greg Peterson, the 23-year-old Internet phenom from the mid-Kansas PetersonFarm Brothers. Some of my University of Guelph agricultural communications students and I were lucky to spend time with Greg earlier… Read More

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, people in some countries were rioting over the rising price of grain. Production was low and competition was increasing. Natural disasters or some other phenomena had cut into supply, while biofuels and renewable fuel sources that use grain as a feedstock were starting to gain… Read More

Things have changed quickly in society, maybe faster than ever. For example, I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, science was definitely not cool. One of my contemporaries (age-wise), a top-notch, internationally respected environmental toxicologist, reiterated that for me recently during a discussion about occupational choices. “I didn’t become a scientist… Read More

Municipal elections took place this week in Ontario, delivering to us a whole new slate of wide-eyed municipal councillors. Many of them ran on platforms of change, hope, difference and progress, and I believe they meant it. Typically, municipal councils are populated by well-intentioned people determined to help their own community. Municipal councillors don’t want… Read More

I never assume anyone knows where my hometown of Mitchell’s Bay (population: 350) is, unless they like to fish or hunt or boat, or come from deep in southwestern Ontario. So I was quite surprised when, on a plane to western Canada earlier this week, the 30-something man beside me from B.C. nodded in acknowledgement… Read More

With so much change and uncertainty surrounding us, the saying (curse?) “may you live in interesting times” is certainly appropriate this year among farmers. I’m hoping farmers are front and centre in everyone’s thoughts as Thanksgiving approaches and their efforts to feed us are remembered, particularly in a year in which they’ve had more than… Read More

It’s hard finding farm safety national stats that go past 2008 – and it’s high time we had some, to figure out trends – but you don’t need hard numbers to know farm safety is vital, especially this time of year.  Farm safety problems peak in the fall, during harvest, when farmers spend long hours… Read More

From afar – and maybe even up close — it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on in environmental hot spots, such as Alberta’s oilsands, despite oil company ads that tell everything is coming up roses. But agriculture needs to pay more attention to oilsands. Here’s why. It’s hard to separate agriculture and the environment,… Read More

I didn’t exactly plan it this way, but earlier this month I (and fellow RealAgriculture.com writer Debra Murphy, among others) found myself in Scotland, as the country was gearing up for what may be the biggest modern-era step it ever takes – that is, the September 18 referendum for independence. The timing with the referendum… Read More

If you support research-based solutions to agricultural challenges, rejoice. A new report from a group called the Council of Canadian Academies says Canadians have the lowest level of reservation toward science among 17 countries considered. That’s heartening for the pro-science crowd. It runs counter to the growing belief that precaution is prevailing among Canadians, rather… Read More

 

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