Organized by Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission and the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI), the 2017 New Crop Missions will visit 18 countries, each of which are Canada’s top customers for wheat.  Our first stop is with the millers in Canada and the U.S.  It is often forgotten that our most important customers are on the North American continent.

I likely can’t count the number of times I have spoken or written the words science-based.  It is a mantra of sorts.  And for good reason.  Technology is the most important competitive advantage for Canadian agriculture.  This is how we are going to compete with emerging exporters like the Black Sea countries.  Modern farming tools and methods are also the reason why Canadian farmers have a fantastic sustainability story to tell.  In order to keep these tools and the ability use new and emerging techniques, we must have science-based regulations, both within Canada as with our trading partners.

In the words of Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." I am always grateful that I get to work for an organization where one of its guiding principles is to promote collaboration throughout the cereals value chain.  It is for this reason that I want to come to work every day.  There is always a new issue, something to work on, and something to learn that 9.9 times out of 10 requires some sort of collaborative process. 

A producer asked me a few weeks ago, “why do others care about my farming practices?”  And then asked, “isn’t it only my bottom line that suffers if I do something that hurts my yield or quality?”  These are two important questions.  The value chain is becoming more and more integrated over time.  This means that the actions of one player can impact entire markets.  This is true for farmers as well as crop developers, shippers, and processors.  What happens on the farm extends well beyond the farm’s gate. 

It is hard to believe, but the genetic engineering technology that gave us herbicide resistant canola, corn and soybeans is yesterday’s science. The recombinant DNA techniques that gave us these new farming options have benefited agriculture – through increased yield, reduced input costs and reduction of tillage and summer fallow. The technology has also helped improve Canadian agriculture’s sustainability picture, by reducing fuel use, improving soil organic matter and decreasing erosion. But not everyone in society sees these benefits and the resistance to “GMO” by some consumers in the market place continues.

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Cereals Canada is a national, not-for-profit organization that brings a broad and diverse collaboration of partners from all sectors of the cereals value chain.