I was given the opportunity to attend FarmTech in Edmonton when I was chosen as one of the winners from the “Y We Farm” competition. The competition organized by Farm Management Canada consisted of making a one minute video on what your generation as a young farmer brings to the table. My video was about how my generation sees new opportunities though buy local food movements, growing ethnic populations and traceability of animals.
As I left for FarmTech, the last week on January, it was some of the worst weather that I had seen in a very long time. However, upon my arrival in Edmonton a wonderful time awaited me. I met up that evening with the other two competition winners and employees of Farm Management Canada.
As part of the prize package we attended several of the breakout sessions each of which had interesting topics. There were several sessions that talked about agronomy, pests and worms. Along with other topics such as market outlooks, advocacy, management and the huge topic of farm succession planning.
One particular speaker that impressed me was a fellow named Shawn Brooks who spoke on the importance of advocacy. His take away message was that no matter what type or size of farm that you have, you should be proud of it. Allow people to ask questions about farming and tell them what you do and why you do it. The bridge between rural and urban people is becoming larger. In order to help people understand common farming practices it’s important that we as farmers change their perception of us. That is why it’s important to tell your story as a farmer and to be proud of it.
The other favorite among the crowd was Dick Wittman. He brought forth the taboo subject of farm succession planning. Several things that he mentioned were right on the mark for a lot of folks in the crowd. You could see a lot of people having an ‘ahaa!’ moment as they reached into their hearts and thought about their families and their operations, but more how they wanted to leave a successful opportunity for the next generation to run the business. The take home message was to plan, talk and create a vision and put it on paper. This way everyone can see the bigger picture together and have the same vision to make your business successful.
As part of FarmTech prize package, myself and the other two chosen winners were to help at the Farm Management Canada both. This turned into being a very entertaining experience. Farm Management Canada was giving away sunglasses as part of their new campaign towards managing risk on your farm business. We had the great opportunity to meet many people from all kinds of farming operations.
Looking back on this wonderful experience I truly am thankful for all the new ideas and opportunities and friendships that were made during my trip to FarmTech. The agricultural industry is something that I see myself in for a very long time. The knowledge that I gained during this trip was valuable and I plan to use it in building our family farm operation. I would like to thank the sponsors of this trip- Thank You to John Deere and the Canadian Fertilizer Institute for sponsoring and to Farm Management Canada for organizing the Y We Farm, young farmer video competition.
Y We Farm Winners (Left to right: Heather Little, Corey McQuarrie, and Geoffrey Foth).