August 24, 2015 Pat Beaujot
Preaching to the Unconverted: Farm and Food Care goes on Tour
I recently attended the Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan “Taste the Land of the Living Skies” farm tours last week and I was very impressed with what I saw. This tour was set up to attract chefs and food bloggers from the more populated parts of Canada.
I was asked to do a half hour presentation on soil conservation on the second morning of the tour. I was excited about this and also a bit nervous. I have done lots of presentations like this but always to farm groups so I was “preaching to the converted”. These people are the audience we really need to get to in order to help them understand that we are doing great things in Agriculture. Using modern farming methods to create quality, affordable, safe food while taking good care of our land and animals is what so many of us strive toward every day, and I finally had the chance to get this message across!.
Prior to my presentation, Adele Buettner CEO of Farm & Food Care SK asked if the crowd had any comments or questions about the previous days’ tour. I was pleasantly surprised at the great response they had to the farms visited the previous day which included a grain and cattle farm. The farmers must have left a great impression on these people because you could tell they got it! Why wouldn’t you use vaccines on your cattle, they are like children in your care so you are obligated to do what is best to keep them healthy. This makes A&W’s campaign now look bad to them now: why would you not use modern medicine to take care of your animals? They got the same message from the poultry producers they heard from right after my talk.
This discussion prior to my presentation made me feel much better about the message I was about to present. Canada and Saskatchewan have a great record for using conservation tillage. I explained to them how important it was to maintain healthy levels of organic matter in our soils and this can only be done by reducing tillage and using glyphosate for weed control. I showed the positive long term impact switching to no-till has had on the prairies. I explained to them that the United Nations declared this the Year of the Soil and yet no one hears about that. We just hear about the negative press about modern farming. I showed them the great job our farmers are doing but they don’t get any recognition for this and that is very unfortunate. I talked about how huge the business of Anti-Science is by showing Green Peace’s most recent financial statement with donations coming in at 74 million euros/ year. Even the United Nations can’t compete with that. I talked about the United Nations calling on the rich countries to help the poor countries to switch to conservation farming methods because they can’t afford to do the research and development themselves. Instead the rich countries are being misled by the anti-science movement and getting pressure to ban conservation products like glyphosate and GMOs. This makes it almost impossible to see how poorer countries will ever be able to start saving their soils.
The group of food bloggers were very receptive to all this. They asked lots of questions and seemed almost shocked to hear such a logical other side to the modern farming story.
I went on to say that the real environmentalists of the world are the no-till farmers. They are the ones who have taken the risk to change and learn and they did it with their own money, not by asking for donations! This was very well received.
All in all the Farm & Food Care did a great job getting the right audience out for the tour and they clearly got the message. I was so fortunate to be a part of this valuable learning sessions. I even learned a few things myself about how receptive the public can be to the logic and reason of our arguments. Well done Farm and Food Care!!
To find out more abourt Farm & Food Care, follow @FarmFoodCareSK and use #loveSASKfood hash tag or visit https://farmfoodcaresk.org/
I invite your comments. Please tweet me at @PatrickBeaujot or @NOTILLville
Photos courtesy of Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan