The Whole Grains Story #WhereDoGrainsGo

The Growing Connections trailer on Canada Day

Agriculture is an important economic driver for the province of Ontario. In 2016, more than 13 million metric tonnes of barley, corn, oats, soybeans, and wheat were produced on six million acres of land. This helped to generate $9 billion in economic output and more than 40,000 jobs in the province.

When we bring the Growing Connections trailer or the Grain Discovery Zone to events – especially ones in Toronto and Ottawa – one of the first things people want to know is where all that grain goes. Continue reading “The Whole Grains Story #WhereDoGrainsGo”

How to win #TrainWithGrains

#TrainWithGrains keys to success

Now that the submissions are pouring in, we’re noticing some important trends. #TrainWithGrains is serious business — there is a $2500 cash grand prize, and weekly prizes from Adidas at stake after all — so you should probably take some notes if you want to submit a winning video.

These are probably the most important rules to making a winning #TrainWithGrains video: Continue reading “How to win #TrainWithGrains”

How the future of farming relies on internet access

You may not think twice about internet access, but less than half of Canadian farmers have high speed internet on the farm. Technology like drones and GPS tractors are on the rise, which means farmers need reliable internet. Mark Brock, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario was on CTV Your Morning to discuss the impact of internet access on Ontario farmers. Brock talks about the use of internet in data analysis, technology, farm management decisions and rural infrastructure. Check out the video to learn more about how farming and internet access go together.

Why are Ontario’s grain farmers tweeting pictures of #grainbugs?

One of the biggest issues facing grain farmers this past year was new regulations brought into effect by the provincial government, severely restricting the use of a popular class of pesticide called neonicotinoids (or neonics). We’ve written about the regulations, and the ensuing legal challenge, in the past; I encourage you to dig a little deeper at GFO.ca. The most important thing to keep in mind is that farmers believe the science that says neonics don’t actually harm bees – science that was confirmed in January by Health Canada.

CBC News reported last night that Ontario farmers were “Twitter spamming” pictures of bugs in their fields, and some local outlets referred to it as a “Twitter bomb”. That’s not really the case.

It can be really difficult to have conversations about neonics, or pesticides in general. The #grainbugs pictures are just another piece of that puzzle. The thing is, farmers tweet these pictures all the time: sharing pictures and asking for advice from other farmers while you’re scouting your field is something every farmer with a smartphone already does. By encouraging farmers to use the #grainbugs hashtag, we want to let everyone in on that conversation. Grain Farmers of Ontario is also collecting photos and insights from the field as part of its assessment of the impact of the regulations.

Finding a bug in a field is a moment of pure uncertainty. What is it? Where did it come from? Will it damage my crop? How badly will it damage my crop? What can I do about it? For a few minutes, all you can do is ask questions and imagine that one little bug destroying hundreds of acres. This summer, Ontario’s farmers lost an important tool for managing pests; if you follow along with #grainbugs, you’ll see exactly what that means.