Quality, reliability and safety are traditionally the key selling points abroad for Canadian farm commodities and food products. The pristine, clean and green image resonates with buyers, and it’s helped boost Canada’s agricultural exports more than six per cent during each of the new millennium’s first eight years.  But with international food standards reaching new highs, and people everywhere asking tough questions about food, change is in the air. Craig Bremner, the Guelph-based vice-president of agriculture for TD Canada Trust, says Canada must start focusing on another trait that can set it aside from competitors — that is, traceability. I cover his perspective, and others, in my Urban Cowboy column in today’s Guelph Mercury.

It turns out today, March 22, is also World Water Day. Traceability may be Canada’s new agri-food advantage, but water is a natural advantage whose importance is only starting to be realized. Below is Canada’s most famous water feature, Niagara Falls, being viewed from the Maid of the Mist, which delegates to the 2011 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists congress will have a chance to experience. The photo is from Planetware.