The short video premieres Monday
By Diego Flammini
A Canadian ag organization is premiering a video on Monday to bring attention to the challenges and realities facing Canadian farmers and educate policy-makers about how modern grain farms operate.
Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is showing “A Harvest Across Canada” for the first time Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. EST (2:00 p.m. MST). Anyone interested in watching can register for the premiere here.
The video will also be available on GGC’s YouTube channel beginning Tuesday, which coincides with the kickoff to Grain Week.
The video features eight farmers representing provinces from Alberta to Prince Edward Island.
“The farmers talk about what it takes to run a modern grain farm,” Erin Gowriluk, executive director of GGC, told Farms.com. “That includes everything from putting a plant in the ground, protecting and nurturing the crop, what goes into harvest, and market access issues once the crop is in the bin.”
Engaging with lawmakers about policy is part of GGC’s mandate.
These elected officials, many who may not be from rural ridings or areas where agriculture is a major sector, pass rules and regulations that affect farmers directly.
Showing members of Parliament how their policies impact farmers can help them shape future rules and regulations, Gowriluk said.
“How can we expect lawmakers to effectively develop policy if they don’t understand how a farm works and the needs of a Canadian farmer?” she said. “We want them to think about, when they think about policy, like the carbon tax, what that means at the farm level. We’re hoping this video helps translate into better policy for Canadian farmers.”
One of the farmers featured in the video is Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, who farms about 15,000 acres of cash crops with her family in Mossbank, Sask.
She’s a past president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers and currently serves as one of its directors.
Communicating with policy-makers about the complexities of ag in a simple manner is an important part of developing a relationship, she said.
“We used to talk in our lingo and use farming jargon, and some of our communication efforts were getting lost,” she told Farms.com. “When we talk about trade, participation as a farmer is fairly simple.
“We grow what needs to be exported.”
Trade is a complex system including railways, vessels and trading partners.
When items along the value chain are disrupted because of policy or other issues, it creates challenges for farmers.
“It’s important our policy-makers understand the efficiency of our value chain,” she said. “I brought up the blockades from earlier in the year and weather and how one storm can bring everything to a halt for farmers. I also talked about trade agreements, whether they’re not signed or not being monitored, and how that affects farmers.”
Another topic discussed in the film is sustainability.
The word is one people in and outside of ag like to use, but it’s also one they haven’t been able to come up with a concrete definition of, she said.
“It was important to talk about what sustainability means to us,” Jolly-Nagel said. “We believe we have a positive story when it comes to sustainability, but some policies like the carbon tax antagonize the industry when there should be a partnership.”
As the pandemic continues, the federal government may look to agriculture as an industry capable of boosting Canada’s economy once COVID-19 ends.
But for ag to be part of the solution, Ottawa must provide the industry with the breathing room to do so, Jolly-Nagel said.