I hear the train a-comin’ – from Mexico

Rail transport of freight has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and it looks like Canadian Pacific Railway Is about to ride that trend further. The company is about to become is the first rail network to link Canada, U.S. and Mexico, which has huge implications for agriculture in all three countries. Photo: CTVNews.ca

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Farming needs to be understood, then celebrated

March is Agricultural Literacy Month. What does that mean? Thanks to government-funded programs, the agencies that deliver them and some benevolent donors, students are learning the facts about agriculture in Canada. If tomorrow’s consumers are discerning and well informed, that’s something to celebrate. Photo: Agscape.

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Lights, camera …. entrapment: SILO, the movie

In the midst of a saturated media market, a movie made on a shoestring budget – about grain handling safety – has generated a buzz among rural audiences. SILO is a Hollywood style, 80 minute-long story of a farm worker who gets trapped trying to free-up grain stuck in a 50-foot high storage bin. Compared to most instructional videos, SILO takes farm safety to a whole new level.

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Consumers acceptance will determine genetically altered livestock uptake

A tug-of-war is underway in the U.S. right now between two federal departments about who will have the oversight of genetically modified plants and animals. Currently it’s the Food and Drug Administration, but the U. S Department of Agriculture believes it should be at the fore, as do most farmers. No matter which agency prevails, it will be the consumer who has the final say in this controversial market. Photo: TorontoSun.com

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No farm visits? No problem with Adopt a Cow

Take a dairy farmer with kids in 4H and a kindergarten teacher looking for remote learning opportunities, and you get an exciting, new farm-based program for school kids called ‘Adopt A Cow’. Modelled after a similar program in the U. S., farmer Heather Peters and teacher Melissa Pearce were overwhelmed by the response of local dairy farmers willing to participate.

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Bright minds from McGill University’s Macdonald campus

Janine Lock and Mark Ruiter are two of the faces of tomorrow’s agriculture – enthusiastic, optimistic and keen to continue learning after graduation. It’s that last quality, in particular, that bodes well for home-grown innovation in Canada’s agri-food industry…and it’s just what’s needed for competitiveness and sustainability in these challenging times.

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Farming is being treated like a carbon liability

Farmers feel the current federal carbon tax targets them unfairly. The carbon-based fertilizer and fuel they use are necessary to grow food. And it’s true that they’re not being compensated for measures like rotational grazing that actually sequester carbon in the soil. The public wants something done about climate change…so where’s the middle ground? Photo: globalnews.ca

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Farmers need mental health services just for them

Farmers face a unique set of challenges every day – challenges over which they have little to no control. Weather, disease, commodity prices, the list goes on. Who better to receive targeted mental health programs than those who may need it most, but are least likely to ask. It’s long overdue and we owe them our support.

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Human welfare is the star of food production

We’ve gained a new appreciation for the role of food workers during this pandemic, especially in farm and food processing jobs. Their essential positions are filled mostly by offshore workers and new Canadians, and their plight has become a human welfare issue, not just here but in agriculture abroad. Photo: thestar.com

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Urban Cowboy

Raising awareness and promoting dialogue about current food and agriculture issues.

OWEN ROBERTS

Headshot of Owen Roberts

Owen Roberts is a faculty member in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications program at the University of Illinois. As an agricultural journalist, he is the past president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and a lifetime achievement award recipient from the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation.

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