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  • Author
    Alex Binkley
  • Bio

    Alex Binkley is a freelance journalist based in Ottawa with 40 years experience in all facets of reporting. He covers developments in the Canadian Parliament and Government in transportation, food safety and traceability, agriculture, healthy eating, mental health, municipal issues, pesticides, biotechnology, biofuels, bioproducts, alternate energy and the environment for various trade and specialty publications as well as news and specialty websites.

Telling agriculture’s story with a simple image

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My Twitter account attracts all sorts of guff I can readily do without. Occasionally it produces a gem that makes plowing through all the tweets worthwhile.


I have to thank Doug Helm for the latest one. He posted what he rightly describes as a great ad for Canadian farmers.

It’s a photo of a woman holding the hand of young girl as they walk down a farm road on a mid-summer evening. A large 98% is superimposed on the picture along with the message that that number “of Canadian farms are family owned and operated. Agriculture is not just a business, but a way of life for many Canadian families.”

The poster was prepared for the industry initiative, Agriculture More Than Ever, ,with information obtained from the Real Dirt on Farming report from Farm & Food Care Ontario. Several journalist colleagues agreed that it’s an effective plug for the farm sector.  It should be up there with Farmers Feed Cities.

Its message is an important one. Every time I read “an opinion piece” on modern agriculture, it inevitably grumbles on and on about the perfidious corporate takeover of farming and the demise of the small farmer. Of course, these commentators never describe what a farmer or farm is.

The poster is a perfect comeback for that claim and it deserves to be displayed where consumers will see it. It’s the kind of statistic that farmers and politicians should have at their fingertips.

It’s true there are more corporations than ever in farming, primarily because of the growth of large farms in which any number of family members have an ongoing stake. But that depth of involvement is as good an assurance as society will get that the farm will pass from generation to generation in top shape run by people with a commitment to healthy food and sustainable production.

Agriculture More Than Ever focuses on the fact that “ag matters”. It is a marvelous resource more farm groups should investigate taking advantage of. Food & Farm Care has a 2013 calendar on its web site that introduces readers to some of the current crop of Canadian farmers. Other farm groups should consider similar initiatives. Dairy Farmers of Canada has its Farmers Voice blog. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association presents as annual environmental stewardship award and operates a young leaders program.

There are many producers trying to use Facebook and Twitter to tell the real story of modern farming. They should be applauded and encouraged.

 

 

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