Sustainability and Prairie farms
By Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan
Nov. 19, 2009 -This week, Saskatoon played host to more than 170 producers and industry stakeholders from the Prairies and abroad, to discuss a variety of challenges and opportunities facing the agri-food sector across the West.
Nov. 19, 2009
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan -More than 170 agricultural producers and industry representatives from across the prairies gathered in Saskatoon this week for the Balancing the Bottom Line conference.
The conference focused on identifying global trends and discussing practical solutions for successful and sustainable prairie farms and featured a diverse array of international speakers including Australian farmer Ross Johns and former Canadian Federation of Agriculture president and International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) past-president Jack Wilkinson.
“Canada and Australia have a very similar history. Similar legal systems and language,” Johns told a packed audience on Wednesday night. “We export relatively the same percentage of grain and sell too many of the same markets. As growers we have similar issues – high input costs and the need to maintain productivity growth. And it is important that we explore areas of mutual benefit.”
Johns was the vice chair of the Australian Grain Research Development Corporation and is a former director of the Australian Barley Board. The conference is one of the first events in western Canada to bring together producers and their advisors -to learn and network together. The event took place on November 18 and 19 in Saskatoon.
Sponsored by the Farm Leadership Council (FLC), the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) Inc. and the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) – the conference addressed the economic, environmental and social balance in today's agricultural environment and how those factor into sustainability within the industry.
Wilkinson discussed environmental impacts to the industry on at the international level and how that relates to sustainability.
“It is our responsibility as Canadian farmers and farmers around the world to make agriculture profitable,” Wilkinson explained. “Where it makes sense to produce food and it makes sense to adapt to new technologies and it makes sense to do the environmental things we have to do. You can only do that if there is profitability in the sector.”
The conference also featured a panel discussion of young farmers and industry associations.
"We are very pleased with the event. The presentations were engaging and challenged participants to look at the sustainability of their own operations,” Conference organizers said in a statement. “We heard some very candid views on the challenges and opportunities that exist for farmers here in Canada, and around the world."