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You spoke and we’re listening

In April, we invited you to participate in a survey to gauge how well we’re helping you share your story. The response was fantastic. We now have a clearer picture of your needs and opportunities for Agriculture More Than Ever to support you as you participate in the food conversation.

What you told us
  • You are satisfied with our monthly emails.
  • Almost all of you have used an agvocate resource, with clothing being the most popular.
  • You’re using social media to talk to people, both inside and outside of the industry, about your ag story.
  • Our blog posts appear to be the most useful to you.
  • The biggest barriers to agvocating are time and confidence.
  • The most common questions you receive from the public are about food safety.
What we’re going to do
  • Continue to be a resource for the industry.
  • Support you in sharing your story with confidence and help connect you with other agvocates and consumers.
  • Amplify and share more examples of what others are doing so you can learn from each other.
  • Create opportunities for you to be the face and voice of agriculture and help identify ways to reach consumers.
  • Create “talking tips” to help with in-person conversations and update our infographics to be relevant to consumers, too.
Our request of you 

Continue to engage with the public about Canadian agriculture and food. We have your back, and so do over 4,000 other agvocates who have joined the cause and formally committed to speaking up and sharing their story. Let us know what you’re up to so we can help to amplify it and share ideas with us on how we can help. We’re always looking for new ways to support you.

Actively listen to what consumers are saying to you. The better we understand the concerns of the public, the better we can equip ourselves to improve perceptions, foster confidence in the food we produce, encourage others to pursue careers in ag and invest in our industry.

Keep letting us know how we’re doing. Have you used a resource that really hit the mark? Are there information gaps we can help you fill? Do you have agvocacy tips or ideas you’d like to share? us.

Thank you for continuing to be a positive voice for the industry!

The Ag More Than Ever Team

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Agvocate Profile Outtake – Andrew Campbell - YouTube

Andrew Campbell, A.K.A. The Fresh Air Farmer, shares a story about connecting with a consumer through honest and transparent conversation in this exclusive bonus clip.

Follow Andrew on TwitterInstagramFacebook and YouTube.

Be an agvocate

Join Andrew and thousands of other Canadians in ag.

Sign up now

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We were so impressed with how Canadian agvocates showed up to celebrate our country and our industry on July 1. Even though the hoopla surrounding has since quieted down, let’s keep the positive momentum going by celebrating Canada 150 and Canadian agriculture and food at every opportunity.

1. Start a conversation, share a moment

It could be as simple as sharing your Canadian ag moments in a photo, blog post or video, like Saskatchewan rancher Adrienne Ivey did with her video of a beaver herding cattle or Ontario farmer Sandi Brock’s Sheepishly Me vlog where she shares stories about sheep, family and farming.

2. Great content you can easily share on social media

Here are some Ag More Than Ever resources you can easily publish to get the conversation started:

3. Videos celebrating 150 years of agriculture

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canada 150 video celebrates our past and looks forward to a bright ag future.

For a historical perspective, check out Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan’s video: Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Food.

See what’s new on our YouTube channel where we highlight more great industry videos.

4. Not connected on social media?

How about hosting a barbeque featuring Canadian food, or holding an open farm to connect with locals or visitors in your area? Show how you feed Canada and the world.

Share your ideas

The opportunities to put Canadian ag in the spotlight are only limited by your imagination. Do you have an idea? Share it with us on social media or send us an email.

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How will we sustainably feed 9 billion people by the year 2050? A question that is becoming mainstream in agriculture; yet, something most youth have never considered.

One of the most powerful ways we can share our stories about agriculture is to engage teenagers with a tool they enjoy – video games.

Farming simulations are quite popular with both rural and urban teens, but, the portrayal of farms in these games are not based in reality or best practices. And, they can create a lot of misconceptions. Last time we checked, you can’t squish a pig so it poops out bacon.

Farmers 2050 is the newest, and in our opinion, the best virtual farm game on the market. It was written by a collaboration of industry experts and educators to teach the public what it really takes to feed the world.

Farmers 2050: Download and play for free

Droughts occur, mortgage payments come due and farm chores never stop.

Players get to plant crops, raise animals, and craft goods to sell in a virtual community while managing the three pillars of sustainability: environment, economic and social. And, planting is based on a western Canada landscape  (if you grow barley then you won’t be growing mangoes).

Along the way, real farmers from across the world show the player what they are actually doing on their farms. From a dairy producer in Nova Scotia, to a potato grower in Alberta, agvocacy is embedded throughout the game.

Feeding the world responsibly is essential and we must communicate to the world all of the innovations, best practices and opportunities there are in the industry. Farmers 2050 supports those efforts and it’s a lot of fun to play.

We encourage you to help take the story of real agriculture to the top of the game charts.

Farmers 2050 - YouTube

Download and play Farmers 2050 for free on the App Store and Google Play store.

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Does agvocating online seem like a daunting task? Are you new to Twitter and want to know how to get started? Learn the fundamentals of communicating on Twitter in this webinar from Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan.

Explore Twitter’s ins and outs with Adrienne Ivey and Jean Clavelle, two Saskatchewan agvocates who maneuver through the Twitterverse with ease.

You can follow Adrienne, Jean or Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan by clicking on their Twitter handles:
@adrienneivey
@clavellejean
@FarmFoodCareSK

Starting on Social Media Webinar: Twitter 101 - YouTube

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The goal of this challenge is to fill Facebook with ag photos, and many of the posts are doing much more than that by creating an engaging way to share a story and build trust in food and farming practices. Perhaps you’ve already been nominated and taken the challenge.

Participating in a challenge like this is a fun way to demonstrate your passion for agriculture, connect with people outside of the industry and start a conversation about the role you play in producing food. Everyone has friends and family who are less familiar with Canadian ag, and Facebook is a wonderful place to connect with them. Even your friends within the industry who may not be familiar with your sector could learn a thing or two!

Here are five quick tips to make the most of this agvocate opportunity:

  1. Consider your audience. What might they not know about your farm? What would be interesting to them? What do you think they might have questions about?
  2. Be sure to include a description of your photo. What might be self-explanatory to you might not tell the whole story with someone less connected to agriculture.
  3. Avoid ag-related jargon. It might be second-nature to talk about a heifer or inoculant, but would your non-ag friends understand what that means?
  4. Stay positive and speak from the heart. Authenticity is key, so be yourself. People will connect better with your story if you can demonstrate that you care about the same things they do, and by sharing why you choose to do things a certain way helps to create new perspective.
  5. Look for opportunities to start a conversation – Ask your friends a question in your post, or invite people to ask you questions in order to increase discussion about the photo.

Have fun and let’s keep the momentum going!

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Sharing your farm story through pictures - YouTube

Andrew Campbell, a dairy farmer from Strathroy, Ont., is well-known in the agriculture community as Fresh Air Farmer and founder of #Farm365. In 2015, he made a resolution to take a picture of his farm every day and share it online with #Farm365. Two years later, Andrew continues to share his ag pride through this hashtag and is using video in 2017 to share 52 farms in 52 weeks.

In this video, Andrew talks about how he’s used social media to inspire others to tell the positive story of agriculture and give consumers insight into where their food comes from. He also encourages each of us to join in and find our own way to educate others about farming and food.

Follow Andrew on Twitter and Instagram @FreshAirFarmer and Facebook.
Subscribe to Andrew on YouTube to watch his weekly videos throughout 2017.

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I believe in the future of Ag because... - YouTube

Young farmers from across the country met to discuss all things ag at the annual Canadian Young Farmers Forum conference in Ottawa. On the year of Canada’s 150th birthday, speakers kept the conference theme of “Growing Canada for 150 Years” in mind. Conference goers showcased their farms from all over Canada, gave each other tips and tricks, and spoke to us about the future of the industry. Here is what the young delegates had to say about the future of ag.

A big thanks to all of the agvocates who participated in the video. Here’s to another 150 years of growing Canada!

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In the next 40 years, humans will need to produce more food than they have in the past 10,000 years combined.

That’s a fact that will make anyone raise their eyebrows (and I certainly did a double-take at the notes written down when that was said).

It’s also a sombre reminder that the world will have nine billion people to feed by 2050. But as Michael Hoffort, President and CEO of Farm Credit Canada, stated in his address during the first-ever Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 16, in that challenge lies an opportunity for Canada.

“We have an opportunity to make Canada an agri-food superpower,” he explained.

Michael Hoffort, President and CEO of Farm Credit Canada, told those at the Canada’s Agriculture Day event in Ottawa that there is a need to “build upon coming together and speaking as one voice, as one industry.”

But Hoffort also noted that getting there means encouraging more conversations about the vibrant agriculture industry we have in Canada and bridging the gap between consumers and producers. Therein lies the importance of introducing Canada’s Agriculture Day, an opportunity for those in the agriculture and agri-food industry to come together collectively in celebration of food and the people who produce it. After all, we have so much to be proud of in Canada when it comes to agriculture and agri-food – an abundance of healthy and readily-available foods, ground-breaking innovation, substantial contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, and providing employment for more than 2.3 million Canadians. But with less than three per cent of Canadians having a connection to agriculture nowadays, those facts are lost on many individuals. That’s why it is up to those in agriculture to promote the industry and help create a link between consumers and where their food comes from.

“We don’t talk enough about the food we produce in our country,” said Hoffort.

“Telling the story of agriculture by the people who are close to it and living it is much more impactful than people having to go online and trusting that they will get the real story,” Hoffort explained after his address. “Agriculture hasn’t always been properly and accurately represented. So this is a chance for those who are close to it, who are passionate about it, and who know it, to be a part of that conversation to give our consumers confidence. Because we really do have great food here in Canada.”

Now, feeding the world’s burgeoning population doesn’t come without some obstacles. And as many producers at the Canada’s Agriculture Day event in Ottawa commented, chief among those obstacles will be producing more with less.

“(Farmers need to look at) how can we farm by the square inch instead of the square mile,” said Lane Stockbrugger, co-owner of LD Stockbrugger Farms, who took part in a panel of industry representatives.

Sharing the positive story of ag: Canada’s Agriculture Day in Ottawa industry panel - YouTube

It was certainly no surprise to hear that adapting new technologies will be paramount to overcome many of the challenges facing the industry. But Zenia Tata of XPRIZE took that notion a step further when she explained that the current digital revolution is a “game changer” that will restructure how food is produced in the future.

“Want to work on a farm? Study biology. Want to be a farmer? Study robotics,” she said, later adding to the youth in attendance: “You are all entrepreneurs of the future. Remember that the day before something is a breakthrough, it is still a crazy idea.”

Zenia Tata, Executive Director, XPRIZE: A moonshot for agriculture - YouTube

The next generation

Of course, you can’t talk about the future of agriculture without talking about today’s youth. Though, if the level of excitement from the youth in attendance at the Canada’s Agriculture Day event in Ottawa is any indication, it’s an industry that is in good hands.

But I wasn’t the only one who noticed their enthusiasm. So did John Betts, President and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, who commented during a break: “I believe that if we get the right messaging out there and really tap into the energy that young people want to do something worthy and just, there is a natural fit for a lot of what needs to be done.”

And who better to help spread the right messaging than fellow young people. Participants of a panel consisting of students from across Canada encouraged their peers to capitalize on their creativity and imagination to help shape the future of agriculture.

“Youth want to make an impact. We want to talk about what we are passionate about. Feeding nine billion people by 2050 – that’s our challenge,” said panel moderator, Cameron Choquette, a student at the University of Saskatchewan. “So if you have an idea, let’s go for it.”

Meeting the global food challenge: Canada’s Agriculture Day in Ottawa youth panel - YouTube

So what now?

Canada’s Agriculture Day serves as an important opportunity to highlight the industry’s successes and future, but celebrating agriculture cannot simply be a one-day affair.

The enthusiasm surrounding Canada’s Agriculture Day needs to be carried on throughout the year in conversations about our country’s food and the people who produce it. Everyone involved in the ag industry shouldn’t shy away from telling their story – and certainly, each story is worth telling. If you’re passionate about agriculture, shout it from the rooftops (well, not literally, but you get the idea). Whether through social media, trade shows or just while you are at the grocery store, be part of the conversation by inviting consumers to ask questions and sharing your perspective.

Because no one can tell the agriculture story better than those who are living it.

“Our agriculture story in Canada is a great news story,” said Hoffort. “As we talk about it more, I truly believe that makes other people want to be a part of it.”

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