Farmers discuss what being a Canadian farmer means and share messages to fellow producers
By Diego Flammini
The Canadian ag sector is gearing up for its time in the national spotlight.
Feb. 15, 2023, marks the seventh Canada Agriculture Day.
Agriculture More Than Ever launched the day in 2017 to recognize the work of all those who help produce the food that Canadians and people around the world eat.
With that at top of mind, Farms.com connected with three Canadian producers to talk about being a farmer in Canada and to share a message for their fellow producers.
Shane Strydhorst (SS) grows cereals, pulses and canola near Neerlandia, Alta. He’s also the new Chair of Alberta Pulse Gowers.
Marg Rempel (MR) runs a 500-sow farrow to finish hog farm in Ste. Anne, Man. Her farm also raises meat goats and 2,000 acres of crops. In addition, she’s a member of Manitoba Pork’s board of directors.
And Emma Butler (EB) raises beef, lamb and chicken and crops on her farm in Croton, Ont. And recently she and her husband Josh opened their own butcher shop.
Farms.com: What does it mean to be a farmer in Canada?
SS: I’ve always loved farming. I grew up on the farm and it’s been a lifestyle that I’ve loved. When I get up in the morning and step out the door, I never feel like I’m going to work. I feel like I’m doing what I love to do.
MR: I feel quite strongly that food producers are the foundation of every community. As a farmer I feel incredibly proud to be providing that most essential service that helps not only the wellbeing of every citizen but the survival of every citizen.
Shane Strydhorst (Twitter photo).
EB: It’s one of the most integral and most honest jobs you can have. It’s very much rooted in tradition. We are servant to our communities because we feed them.
Farms.com: What is your message to fellow Canadian farmers on Agriculture Day?
SS: We do a lot of great things on our farms, and we have a lot of great stories. I want farmers to share their stories whenever they can. I’d also encourage farmers to read the information provided by their crop commissions, to really understand what they do to benefit your farm, and to consider trying to become a board member to help shape agriculture and advocate on its behalf.
Margaret Rempel (Manitoba Pork photo).
MR: Be proud. We are a very diverse, very creative and very innovative group of people in our country. We are leaders in change and adaptability. It goes on quietly, but we in the farming community are well aware of that.
EB: Keep going and keep moving forward. Try new things and take all the risks. You only live once, so may as well make the most of it.
Farms.com: What is your message to consumers on Agriculture Day?
SS: I’d like them to know that Canadian farmers are some of the best in the world and are major contributors to our economy. Farmers are always working to become more efficient and sustainable because these improvements make good business sense and because farmers take great pride in taking care of the land.
MR: Canadian farmers are providing you with an abundance of healthy food and Canada has a very safe food system. Don’t make assumptions based on some of what you see online, rather be thoughtful and rational about your food information and where you’re getting it from.
EB: Continue to shop local and seek local resources. There’s far more available in your community than you realize. Connect with local famers if you have questions. We are your direct source to how your food gets to your table.
Farms.com: How can consumers continue to support local agriculture after Agriculture Day?
SS: Be curious. Ask us farmers questions about what we do, how and why we do it. We know our industry best and love to talk about it. And when you’re shopping, look for Canadian labels and consider buying those products.
MR: Continue buying as much Canadian product as you can. Respect your food, reduce waste, and appreciate that farmers work hard and care very much about their soil, livestock, crops, families and communities.
Emma Butler (Twitter photo).
EB: It goes beyond purchasing from local producers. Liking a farmer’s social media page and making an effort to support them long term doesn’t necessarily mean spending money. You can support us by sharing a Facebook page or leaving a Google review. Those small gestures mean a lot to small and local businesses.
Canadians can use the hashtag #CdnAgDay to see how farmers and members of the Canadian ag sector are marking Canada’s Agriculture Day.