A Saskatchewan organization is paying tribute to the contributions of farmers during Agriculture Month in this province.
Clinton Monchuk, the executive director of Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan, says that agriculture continues to play a vital role in this province.
“When you think of the backbone of the agriculture sector, it really starts here in Saskatchewan,” Monchuk said in an interview with Agri News. “We have the most primary producers out of any province, the most arable land, and really now we’re starting to see a lot more investment in the processing of a lot of the commodities we grow here in the province.”
Agriculture is a big economic driver for Saskatchewan and Canada, and it’s one that people appreciate.
“Having opportunities to showcase that during Ag. Month is excellent,” he said.
Farming and food are in Monchuk’s blood. He grew up outside of Lanigan on a family dairy, beef and grain farm. He has worked around the world in the fields of agricultural research, education, advocacy and policy development.
And he continues to be active in the family farm.
This past weekend, he posted a picture of him harvesting using a combine in a field, and his daughter was with him in the passenger seat. She was sleeping in the combine, and he snapped a photo of her, noting that they were out on the field on Thanksgiving, trying to get the crop off.
“There needs to be a little bit more realization of what’s going on at farms and ranches, posting different pictures or videos. There’s quite a wide variety of videos that I like to post as well.”
Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan’s role is to provide engaging opportunities to talk about the food that is grown in this province. They want consumers to understand what farmers and ranchers are doing in modern times to grow food.
“A lot of the reason why Farm and Food Care was developed was some of the increased questions from consumers on where their food is coming from,” said Monchuk.
Several different events are planned for this month. They try to concentrate their efforts before Thanksgiving, and they have attended events at the University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Food Centre and the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.
They also use social media to share facts on the agriculture industry in Saskatchewan.
It’s been tough doing events this month due to the delayed harvest in the province.
“Typically we have a lot more volunteers when it comes to some of the events,” said Monchuk. “Some of the events we put on, it happened that it wasn’t the greatest weather around that time.”
While their focus is on the consumer side, they do promote the Farm Stress Line for farmers that is provided by Do More Ag.
People are typically pretty receptive to the Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan message. They have a cooking competition during the summer with top chefs from around Saskatchewan, and an opportunity to meet farmers and ask questions of producers and ranchers.
“What ends up happening is that genuine questions come out, and I think what we’ve done is with farmers and volunteers who have come out in the past, is trying to make sure that everybody understands there are no silly questions when it comes to consumers asking about their food,” said Monchuk.
One of the things that has been lost from generation to generation would be the ties to farmers and ranchers, now that more people are living in the cities.
“If you go back a generation, even though there were fewer farmers than the generation before, there was always the tie to a grandfather or an uncle or an auntie who is farming, now that’s not necessarily true,” Monchuk said.
“So when we have these different events, and people have what farmers and ranchers might think are silly questions, they’re genuine questions that people are really concerned about.”
Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan encourages farmers and producers to post stories about what they’re doing in their operations.
Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan is made up of the majority commodity groups in Saskatchewan, different agri-business, food processing and the Ministry of Agriculture.
“The whole effort combined is to make sure we’re getting out and having conversation with consumers, and then obviously one of those opportunities is through Agriculture Month,” said Monchuk.