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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Agriculture producers honoured for innovative business-building ideas: AgChoices conference

AgChoices logo Three agriculture producers from Alberta were recognized today for their agribusiness innovations at the AgChoices conference in Red Deer.

George Groeneveld, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, announced that Kayben Farms near Okotoks, Ravenwood Farm Fresh Meats in Caroline, and Spring Creek Ranch near Vegreville are the winners of the 2009 Best Practices Awards.

“Like all economic sectors, the agriculture industry continues to evolve,” said Groeneveld. “The Best Practices Awards encourage producers to be pioneers of the modern age of agriculture, exploring how they can enhance or redevelop their business to address industry changes or capture growing opportunities.”

Federal Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, also offered his congratulations to the winners:

“Through innovation and a lot of hard work, Canada’s farmers are helping our agricultural sector prosper. Our government congratulates this year’s award winners for their personal achievements, and for serving as shining examples of best practices in Canadian agriculture.”

While being a business innovator in a free market economy is its own reward, each winner took home $10,000 in prizes paid for by taxpayers through the Agricultural Policy Framework, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Western Standard readers can learn more about the AgChoices conference here, and agriculture investors can get a free "Agriculture Investment Report" here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on February 11, 2009 | Permalink


Considering that agriculture in Canada is one of the most over-regulated areas, both federally and provincially, just about any real innovation is against the law.

There would be a lot of innovations in agriculture, if agriculture were free from government intrusion.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-02-11 12:59:33 PM

So true, Alain.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-11 1:36:18 PM

I agree, also. Governments should provide minimum standards of health, safety, hygiene, and humane treatment of livestock, but I don't see the need for regulations to go beyond that. It's actually nice to see the farmers finally making a bit of money; they've been taking quite a drubbing for the past couple of decades.

And to all you tight-assed, airbrushed yuppies out there who dismiss farmers as gap-toothed, gun-toting, hee-hawing hillbillies, just remember where you next meal's coming from and what might happen if farmers ever closed up shop. Then remember that a sizable percentage of you have never even seen a cow.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-02-11 2:04:19 PM

Agriculture is getting cool among urbanites and even the glitterati, Shane.

John Deere apparel is practically haute couture.

When Paris walks down Rodeo Drive with her mini-cow on a pink, jewel-incrusted leash, you’ll know the agriculture sector has arrived. I think she’d look great with a miniature belted Angus in tow.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-11 2:24:04 PM

Don't forget the silver-plated six-guns and the hemp Stetson hat, Matthew. :-)

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-02-11 2:45:50 PM

You're completed the picture nicely, Shane.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-11 3:03:49 PM

Over regulated and over subsidized. Are farmers willing to accept getting rid of both?

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-11 5:16:43 PM

"Agriculture is getting cool among urbanites and even the glitterati, Shane."

You're right Matthew. Just open up the lifestyle pages of The New York Times or the San Francisco Chronicle and you're likely to see a story about a young organic farmer fresh from the city, or a suburban family's backyard vegetable garden. This article is a prime example.

I was first exposed to the "back to the land", "small is beautiful" writings of Wendell Berry from paleoconservatives and Southern Agrarians, but I see him increasingly beloved by those on the trendy green left.

This trailer for Greenhorns "a documentary about young farmers" provides a peek into the phenomenon.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-02-11 5:34:54 PM

dp, your comment about farmers being over subsidised needs clarification. If you do your research, you will find that it is mainly what I call agribusiness that gets the gross of subsidies as opposed to the family farm. I and many others would prefer no government interference and no subsidy. The various production boards that cover everything from milk, eggs, grain to meat should be terminated in favour of a free market.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-02-11 8:43:09 PM

Alain- That's fair, but I'd like some clarification on farmers being over regulated.

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-11 9:12:02 PM

dp, it would take a book or more to list all the regulations depending on the province. If you are really interested, read "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal" by Joel Salatin, an American farmer who is a role model for innovations in agriculture. Although the context is American, it is no different here and in many areas worse.

Just a small example is that if a producer does his own feed mixing, he can expect a visit and inspection from the CFIA, like it or not. It would not be as hard to swallow if at least these people knew what they were doing. Another thing, just try raising and selling anything without a quota, such as milk or dairy products, chickens, eggs, wheat etc., and you will be treated as the worst kind of criminal.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-02-12 4:36:54 PM

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