Bridging the gap between Canadian farmers and consumers is the focus for at least one organization at the Agri-Trade Equipment Expo in Red Deer this week.
Agriculture More Than Ever is an industry-driven cause with close to 3,000 “agvocates” and 470 partners that promote the agriculture and create positive dialogue about Canadian agriculture.
Debbie Bailey, representative for Agriculture More Than Ever, said five years ago the group conducted an awareness survey to find out what the general public knew about agriculture.
“We went out and talked to the people in the industry and found out they were saying the same types of negative things like ‘It’s a risky business’ or ‘It’s weather dependent,’ shining a negative light on farming,” she said.
Bailey said in a country where only a small amount of people are involved in the industry, it’s important for farmers to speak proudly about what they do.
“About three per cent of the population come from a farming background. The rest of the population in Canada really doesn’t have that connection to agriculture. So it’s important to teach people where their food comes from,” said Bailey.
“It’s important to share the good things that are happening in agriculture. Be proud of it and tell your children to speak up and speak positively about it.”
Not only is it important to educate the public, Bailey said it’s important for farmers to learn more about other sectors and start representing the agriculture industry as a whole.
“Sometimes you can be in your own little bubble in the sector you belong to, but we want people to look at it as a broader industry. We want everybody to feel responsible for representing the entire industry,” said Bailey.
Emmett Sawyer, commercial cattle and grain farmer, said agriculture has gotten so far away from the public eye that people don’t even realize how advanced farming has become.
“We are probably one of the biggest industries for new technology. We have been running GPS (global positioning systems) for at least 5-10 years and only now is the public realizing it,” said Sawyer.
“Farmers are trying to get the word out that if people look at our industry they would see that we are so advanced it’s unbelievable and the things that we are doing are absolutely fantastic.”
Find out more at www.agriculturemorethanever.ca