How did the average North American farm go from feeding 10 people in 1930 to over 155 today? Technology! As the newest smart phone has evolved from the old rotary one on the desk, farming looks different now too.
“Everything is changing, and farmers have to feed more people than ever,” says Ag for Life board member Hon. Ted Menzies. “How do we understand this? It all comes back to education and understanding how to relay the message.”
That’s why it’s so important to Ag for Life that their education and safety programs emphasize the connection between farming and technology for Albertans.
Programs like Agriculture 101 and the Ag for Life Education Symposium teach youth about the role science plays in agriculture using hands-on real-life examples.
“It’s helping them to realize the importance of how we do things in agriculture without actually telling them things like “pesticides are necessary,” Scientist and Ag for Life volunteer David Pinzon says. “They can come up with the answers for themselves that we need to control the weeds for the crop to be successful.”
Students also learn that technology helps farmers give consumers choices about the food they eat.
“There are solutions when we don’t want to the apple to go brown or seeds in our watermelon or oranges,” David says. “It’s good we can satisfy needs such as food allergies or demand for seedless fruits, but it’s important to educate people on the advantages of all the different tools we use in agriculture so they can understand their importance.”
KEEPING FOOD, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND PEOPLE, SAFE
Ag for Life understands that using technology towards safety, in food production and for those who produce our food, is a top priority for farmers.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure we’re producing safe food and that we’re doing it sustainably,” grain farmer Carmen Sewell says. “The technological advancements we’ve seen, even just over my 15 years on the farm, is ensuring we are as safe and efficient as possible.
“If we don’t take care of our land and grow a healthy crop, our earth isn’t going to produce for us into the long term,” she adds. “We’re constantly putting nutrients into the soil and being as efficient as possible to limit our impact on the environment with the machinery we use and our technology.”
Carmen credits Ag for Life’s events, like the annual Harvest Gala for helping consumers know about this priority.
“It’s always great to get the opportunity to connect with other people in the industry who maybe deal with your grain further along the value chain or are advocates and supporters for the industry and help explain what we do to the general public. It helps us expand our network beyond our farmer-producer group.”
For more information about Ag for Life, visit our website here.