Producers across the Southwest had an opportunity to take a bow as part of Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 16.
The inaugural Canada’s Agriculture Day was established during the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity Public Trust Summit in Ottawa this past June. The day was designed to provide an opportunity for the industry to dedicate a day to celebrating agriculture and the producers who provide the food that makes its way to the tables of consumers.
The celebration was intended to help consumers develop a closer connection to the people who make the food we eat. In the 1930’s, more than 90 per cent of Canadians had a direct connection to agriculture. That total has currently dropped to just three per cent according to Stats Canada.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture locations across the province hosted open houses last Thursday to celebrate the day.
“A big part of it is just to celebrate agriculture. Ninety three per cent of people don’t have any connection to the farm any more, to agriculture anymore,” explained Kari Burnett, the Regional Farm Business Management Specialist at Swift Current’s Ministry of Agriculture office.
She said the focus of the day is important, as she recently heard an individual from a large centre comment that he didn’t care what happened to farmers because he would just buy his food at the grocery store.
“Things like that are concerning because, obviously, the food at the grocery store gets there because farmers are growing the crops,” she said. “We’re still surprised by people that aren’t connected to agriculture anymore.”
In the Southwest, where agriculture and the rural way of life is engrained in the region, Canada’s Agriculture Day was truly an opportunity to thank producers for their efforts.
“This region especially is very much in tune with agriculture, and we’re very proud of what we’re doing.”
“It’s a chance for everybody who is working in agriculture, and to show our appreciation for the other people that work in agriculture, and our producers, because we couldn’t do it without either of those groups.”
1 in 8 Canadian jobs are in ag and agri-food
Canada is the world’s fifth largest exporter of ag and agri-food products
Canada sold $50.4 billion in ag and agri-food products on the export market in 2013
Food and beverage processing is Canada’s largest manufacturing industry, with $93.7 billion in shipments
The beef industry contributes almost $25 billion to the Canadian economy annually
Almost 25,000 farm operators are under the age of 35