EP41 New Farmers Part Two

Agriculture in Alberta and in other parts of the world is going through a bit of a ‘personnel change’ right now. You can still find those agricultural producers whose families moved out to the Prairies about a century ago to try their luck at building a better life for themselves, but there is not as many of them as there used to be (there are 62% less agricultural producers in Canada than there were fifty years ago). As farms and ranches become larger and fewer (in Alberta, 34% less than in 1966), there is a growing group of Albertans who are getting involved in agriculture even though they weren’t raised on a farm or ranch. This group not only wants to grow food, but they also want to do good for their communities and the planet.

Sounds like our kind of agricultural producer!

In Part One of New Farmers, Dana Penrice of Young Agrarians explained that since the majority of new and aspiring farmers and ranchers want to practice some form of climate-friendly agriculture (89% according to a 2015 national survey) they are in a way a farm solution that is also a climate solution. Since Rural Routes is in the business of accelerating  on-farm climate solutions across Alberta we asked Dana in Part Two how do we unleash this new farmer force? You’ll be surprised by what Dana had to say.

Highlights:

7:10 – These days we are asking agricultural producers to provide ecosystem goods and services and climate change adaptation and mitigation services in addition to food, fibre, fuel and medicine. Is this unfair?

17:20 – How we can unleash new farmers as a farm solution that is a climate solution.

31:30 – Business viability as a farm solution that is a climate solution and off-farm jobs.

39:10 – What needs to change to facilitate more agricultural producers adopting regenerative agriculture practices.

48:40 – Dana’s thoughts on the food system of the future, the food system we need.

Alberta agricultural producers mentioned in this episode:

Lisa and Donovan Kitt and The Homestead (Fairview)
https://thehomesteadfarm.ca/

Steel Pony Farms (Red Deer)
https://rr2cs.ca/experimenting-with-no-till-regenerative-agriculture/

Ian Griebel, Dana Blume and Redtail Farms (Castor)
https://www.redtailfarms.ca/

Lydia Carpenter, Wian Prinsloo and Luna Field Farm (Belmount, Manitoba)
https://www.lunafieldfarm.com/

Useful Links:

Young Agrarians
https://youngagrarians.org/ Soil scientist Nicole Masters

Our Team
Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute
A Modern Farmer Conversation: The Wisdom of Wes Jackson, Founder of The Land Institute
Grass, Soil, Hope by Courtney White
Grass, Soil, Hope
Alberta stats on off-farm income https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/f7faefb0-52f2-4da0-9bf4-c2743ef8aec1/resource/2b4d5655-fae2-4781-9e0a-e3e8cd9a0ce6/download/offfarmincomefinal2017.pdf National stats on farm family income (Statistics Canada, 2017) https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200306/dq200306d-eng.htm Alberta stats on off-farm work https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/ff36cf63-9526-469b-acec-553c57ca6579/resource/ac8cdb5f-94c9-4c80-9623-0410f41eca5a/download/alberta-farm-and-farm-operator-report.pdf

Want to learn more?

Before listening to this episode, we recommend listening to Episode 39: New Farmers Part One. After you’ve listened to Part One and Part Two, you may want to download and listen to Episode 33 with Ash Armstrong of Armstrong Acres and Curt Hale of Maverick Livestock, Episode 30 with Misamaaki and Api’soomaahka of Kainai First Nation, Episode 27 with Mary and Peter Lundgard of Nature’s Way Farm, Episode 25 with Don Ruzicka (retired owner of Sunrise Farm) and Episode 9 with Amber Kenyon, Heather Kerschbaumer and Kris Vester to learn more about the innovative agricultural producers and land stewards in Alberta who are putting farm solutions that are climate solutions into action. Our Farmer’s Blog is also the go-to source for stories of producers in Alberta who are going the extra mile with their management practices for the land, food and their communities.