Friday, 5 April 2013
Onwards into Canadian Agriculture
Monday and Tuesday I was very lucky to be included in the Grain Farmers of Ontario March classic. An event aimed at bring the latest information and some great comedy to grain producers in the region. The event also hosted a trade show with over 50 exhibits from soil sampling to crop breeding and husbandry. I was met by Crosby Devitt, a Canadian Nuffield Scholar who works for the GFO and who put me in touch with the organisation. The event was top class with speakers covering a range of subjects, but not just agricultural. I was very impressed to hear stories from Ron MacLean, who hosts a TV show in Canada called 'Hockey Night in Canada'. As you can imagine he is quite a celebrity and although I haven't seen the TV show the recollection's and stories were very amusing indeed.
It was great to see support from the catering staff who were serving food and drink through the day. I particularly like this shirt that states quite clearly the benefits of having a vibrant farming industry on your doorstep, producing quality home grown food.
I was also very lucky to be invited to the evening dinner banquet where I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Agriculture for Ontario, Kathleen Wynne. Kathleen had only been in the position for just about a month when I met her; but she realised the importance of agriculture to the economy of the Province, and so took on the Minister of Agriculture role as well. We'll see how she gets on but made quite an impression on the evening walking round the tables of farmers introducing herself and listening to what they have to say. Our politicians could learn a lot! I met lots of interesting people over the two days including Barry Senft the CEO of the Grain farmers on Ontario who spoke to us during the first day of meetings at the CSC. I also met Peter Johnson who is the Provincial Cereal Specialist and we had a great conversation about growing bigger yields of wheat. I actually met up with Pete the following day at a local event, more to follow. You can follow Pete on twitter well worth a look!