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Editor’s Note: They’re wrong about our farmers

Today’s agriculture is proof that farmers are a resource you can grow a country on. So why would you want to stymie them?

I rarely talk politics in this space, and I like it that way. But as we put this issue together, I find I’m trying read the facial gestures of federal cabinet ministers, I’m scrutinizing their word choices, and I’m asking everyone I know what they’re hearing in the back corridors.

It isn’t exactly how you’d want to run a business, but we seem to be dangerously close to the bad old days when worrying about federal policy was what keeps you up at night, not worrying about the harvest.

The point I keep wanting to make is that if you want to explain the tremendous performance of Canada’s agriculture in the last decade, you need to understand that it is farmers who are driving it.

Yes, technology certainly helps. But we know who pays for the technology, and who invests the time and smarts so it actually puts more food on the world’s table.

And yes, strong prices have helped too, although again, they’ve helped because farmers have used those profits both to drive their current productivity to new levels, and also to position their farms for the future.

Agriculture isn’t thriving because it abuses corporate taxation. It’s the other way around. Federal policy is finally treating farms as the businesses they are, giving them access to the tools that have grown practically every other sector of the economy.

But let’s get back to the main issue. As you read our October issue of Country Guide, I hope you’ll agree with me that they portray how agriculture succeeds.

Read “Their Joint Venture” to see how Doyle Wiebe and Mark Thompson are developing a business concept that we are giving extended treatment to because we feel many farmers will see in it a possible future for building or transferring their own farms.

Also be sure to read “Numbers Drive Their Decision Making” to see how the married couple of Michel Dignard and Jeannette Mongeon encourage each other to develop differing ideas, and how they analyze and test those ideas. For this couple, frank thinking is encouraged, says Mongeon. “It makes you understand better.”

And there is also Sarah Jackson in “In the Deep End” who found herself suddenly taking over the farm following her father’s unexpected passing. Among her challenges, Jackson knows she must speak for herself, as farmers always have.

“Sometimes you just have to stand up and say I’m a female and I can run a farm,” Jackson says. “I’ll be polite and courteous for as long as I possibly can and then, if I have to tell you how I really feel, I’m going to do that.”

These, and other farmers throughout our October issue, are tackling the real issues of agriculture, and all they need is stability and fair treatment to shine.

Ottawa needs to see the agriculture that you and I see everyday.

Are we getting it right? Let me know at [email protected].

About the author

Editor

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

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