Opinion

COLUMNS: Top 10 reasons to support Canada’s Agriculture Day

Just in case you didn’t pick up on it, yesterday, Feb 16 was Canada Agriculture Day. It is also celebrated in other countries, particularly the U.S.

Now why would we want to celebrate agriculture. Qualify your reasons if you wish, but take a moment to reflect and to celebrate.

Connect on the web at AgDay.ca. I hope the site is active in the days after.

The whole idea of Canada’s Agriculture day is to celebrate and draw a closer connection between Canadians, our food and the people (farmers and processors) who produce it.

Every rancher and farmer I know in the Cariboo wants to be appreciated for what they do.

Yes, our system is imperfect (hard to get enough local products, affordably).

However we have an emerging necessity and desire to show continual improvement towards healthy soil, healthy food and a healthy relationship with the environment around us.

Here are the 10 top reasons to celebrate Canada’s agriculture, taken from the website.

10.) The ag sector employs one out of eight people.

9.) Canada is the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture and food products, 50 Billion in annual sales.

8.) Family Matters. Ag gives our kids a good life and there are opportunities for them in the future. So it is our legacy, not just our livelihood.

7.) Agriculture plays a significant role in our economy, contributing to Canada Gross National Product over $100 billion yearly.

6.) Farmers see themselves as environmentalists doing more to protect the environment than almost anyone else.

5.) We love and Care for our Animals. Our codes of practice for the care and handling of animals guide us to a high standard.

4.) Agriculture is Innovative. High- quality affordable food requires the right tools and technology.

3.) We believe in Quality. Canada ranks number one in Global food safety performance

2.) We are trusted by consumers. They trust farmers more than any other group and 60% want to know more about farming practices, according to the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity survey.

1.) We love what we do. While it is our business, those of us in agriculture are passionate about our way of life.  The story that we need to tell to those not in the industry is about where and how we produce food.

Now you won’t see me going so far as wearing a T shirt to town with these words on it: ”Kiss me I am a Farmer”. You can buy such a shirt from the website!

Farmers and Ranchers are often dirty, greasy and have been rubbing shoulders with dirty cows and horses and might have been digging in the dirt with their bare hands to harvest produce.

Give them a hug anyway and say, “Thanks for good food.”

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which started at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.

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