Brenda Frank from Farm Credit Canada started us off with a look at agriculture from a global perspective. I found it interesting that when people have increased money to spend the first thing they buy is better food. Canada is one of the few countries that produces more agricultural products than it consumes. I understand how important free trade is so I was pleased to hear about the new trade agreements with the European Union. There are still trade barriers regarding GMOs however Canada has the capability to keep GMO products and non-GMO products separated which allows us to access both markets.
Lots of charts and graphs but Brenda did a pretty good job explaining the slides and making them interesting. Finding the right people for the jobs seems to be the number one challenge in many industries today and agriculture is no exception. Brenda closed with the statement that never has agriculture been so important to Canada and the world, and that we really need to change the conversation to one that encourages enthusiasm about the agriculture industry, especially if we want to attack young people to the industry.
Doug Weinbender from Crop Production Services then took the stage and began his presentation talking about CPS. They recently purchased Viterra assets which makes them quite a big player. Doug shared with us that the Peace Region is about as large as Manitoba in seeded crops so it is an important part of their business. According to Doug the average farm in the Peace Region is about 3500 acres. Farming has become extremely complex, now it’s all about big business and technology. I imagine agriculture is no different than any other industry and technology is significantly changing the way we work and live.
The audience for both these presentations was very much agriculture people. Great information if you are interested in agriculture and thank goodness both speakers did a good job so I did indeed learn something.
Written on behalf of GPRC CRI: This is the 10th in a series of posts by Janet highlighting the speakers from the 2014 Growing the North Conference.