Take a farmer to lunch

Jeff Editor

From the Editor’s Desk

Jeff Gaye

If you’re reading your copy of The Courier on Tuesday, consider taking a farmer to lunch. February 13 is Canada’s Agriculture Day.

Farmers, and others in the agriculture sector, are among those who sometimes feel they are underappreciated. (See also veterans, educators, first responders, health care professionals, newspaper columnists etc.)

Cam Houle, a Saskatchewan dairy farmer, was feeling especially frustrated one day in 2016 when he tweeted “I’ve figured it out. Farming is the art of losing money while working 400 hours a month feeding people that think you’re trying to kill them.”

It didn’t take long for his tweet to circulate around the world. He has since explained and softened his remarks, but they still resonate.
Food is everybody’s business. We are what we eat, so we have a big stake in how our food is produced. In the Canadian Armed Forces, where there is a strong health and fitness culture, this is all the more important.

Consumers are smart, and they want information – this is good. On the other hand, there are many interests trying to fill that demand for information, and they are not all reliable.

And farmers are starting to feel like no one is asking them how food is grown, how safe it is, or about their environmental stewardship.
If you do take a farmer to lunch today, ask them how they use hormones and antibiotics, and why. Ask them about fertilizers and pesticides, GMO crops, organic crops, animal welfare, irrigation, land use and the price of eggs.

Ninety-seven per cent of Canadian farms are family owned and operated, so if you want to talk to the CEO of your primary food supplier, he or she is easy to reach. You will get good honest answers, and you may be surprised to learn that Farmer Brown isn’t just some tractor jockey.