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With the exception of a few remaining unharvested acres, equipment cleanup and maintenance, and I’m sure paperwork, the 2015 cropping season is wrapped up. My challenge to you now for the winter months is to have some frank discussions with non-agriculture people about how we grow their food and dispel some myths the popular press and junk-science spread.
Choose your audience, don’t tell the story to those in our industry who know it already, pick people from different groups. Folks at Christmas parties (before too much Christmas cheer flows), people at sports events or social groups, neighbours etc all should hear producer’s side of the story.
Remind them that farmers are the first environmentalists there was. If they don’t look after their land it won’t remain productive for them. Inform them that fertilizer usage is responsible for between 40% & 60% of the global food supply. Let them know that organic doesn’t mean “pesticide free”. Ask them why they put more faith in 70 year old rock singers instead of public scientists on what are deemed safe agricultural practices. Educate them on the fact that insulin is derived from GMO bacteria and that a GMO tobacco plant can produce a vaccine for ebola. Tell them the biggest food issue we have in North America is over-consumption. Remind them how agriculture has reduced pesticide usage by thousands of tonnes in the past couple of decades.
Refer these folks to the Farm and Foodcare website (http://www.farmfoodcare.org/). Tell them they’re smart and you know they can study these issues wisely and make smart choices when they get the information from the correct sources.
Get out there and tell our great story !