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Introduction: An evolving view of the west

Not all Canadians love hockey


December 18, 2007
By Peter Darbishire

My introduction to the issue appears here, usually with some note of encouragement that can be drawn from the pages you are about to read, and sometimes it includes an observation about the situation facing crop producers. For a change in this issue, I’ve asked our eastern field editor, Ralph Pearce, who for several years now has assisted with our editing process for the western issues, to comment. Here’s his take:

Stereotypes are often hard to dispel
For instance, as hard as it is to believe, not all Canadians love hockey, just as it does not snow in Winnipeg during the month of July. By the same token, there is the fallacy – mostly observed in eastern Canada – that the west is home to only three crops: wheat, canola and barley.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

A quick glance at the contents page in this issue is a striking testament to the diversity of agriculture in western Canada. No single crop or pest, weed or method of applying fertilizer is favoured above another in our January edition. As a reader, you’re just as likely to encounter a story about the potential for lupins as one for specialty canola. That kind of diversity is not just remarkable, it is a wondrous reflection of agriculture in western Canada.

A college instructor once reminded his students that ‘The task of the media is to act as a reflection of society, not its vanguard’. In our fast-paced, ‘immediate media’ world, we often forget the simple reflective aspects that show ourselves for what we are, instead of relying on stereotypes and superlatives. At Top Crop Manager, we are pleased to hold up this ‘mirror’ that celebrates diversity and a more balanced perspective on agriculture in western Canada.
Thanks, Ralph: your view on western Canadian agriculture is far more informed than most non-westerners, in part as a result of your affiliation with Top Crop Manager. But, as you point out, there’s a gap in the perception of people who are not as involved in the production of their food (and bio-products) as they should be!

Providing a balanced package of information to help farmers in their crop production has been our mandate and this will remain as we move on into the future. This issue is no exception: it includes many crop management advisory pieces.

Included as well is a new feature prepared by Howard Elmer: the Truck King Challenge. This is an exclusive look at which pickup truck is rated highest by a panel of well-qualified judges. It makes me curious, though: the farmers out there who use these vehicles on a daily basis are the truest (and toughest) judges. In that respect, Elmer’s story is a teaser for you!

Peter Darbishire,
Publisher and editor


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