Category: Observer

Will 2023 be the Year of the Farmer?

An advocacy group called the lllinois Farm Families has created a campaign called Year of the Farmer. It wants consumers to know that almost all farms are family owned. Same with Ontario. Corporations supply farms with products like fertilizer and seed. But the suggestion that faming is corporate controlled is a myth. Photo: Illinois Farm Families Program.

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Revving up the agri-food “moonshot” against cancer

President Biden’s “moonshot” announcement of 2016 – to reduce cancer deaths by 50 percent over the next 25 years – was reintroduced last Monday. The US Department of Agriculture will have a key role to play in the effort by ensuring the most nutritious foods are available in the school meal programs it oversees.

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New centre is a big step forward for farmers’ wellbeing

Last week’s announcement of the new Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing is a welcome move in support of farmers’ mental health. The centre’s focus on action is what’s needed to help food producers deal with the daunting challenges – such as weather, disease, prices – they face every day. Photo: RealAgriculture.

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Agriculture and food are matters of national security

US President Biden is enlisting the Dept. of Homeland Security to get tough about potential threats to the country’s food supply. Canada doesn’t have the same resources as the U.S., but a home-grown, real-time technology for meat processing lines could help improve one of the biggest threats – food safety. Photo: The Hill.

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Encourage and reward farmers for being good stewards

Farmers have long asked to be credited for the important environmental work they do – such as sequestering greenhouse gases through careful pasture management and cropping practices. Now, an Alberta insurance plan is proposing to reward farmers who maintain high levels of organic matter in their soils. It’s a science-based strategy that benefits us all. Photo:

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The battle over labelling alcohol resurfaces

Better nutritional labelling on alcohol is the aim of health advocates in the U.S. who are suing the U.S. Treasury and Secretary Janet Yellen, to draw attention to their cause. Is calorie and ingredient information likely to moderate peoples’ consumption? It seems unlikely. Photo:

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Urban Cowboy

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


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. His programs and research papers have been recognized nationally and internationally through awards from the Journal of Applied Communications, the National Agri-Marketing Association, the Association for Communications Excellence, and others.

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