Hubby’s family has been farming for generations. Though we live on a working beef farm and raise cattle, we also grow corn, barley and hay. I know that there are many grain farmers of Ontario that produce far more grain than we do, but we produce grain nonetheless.
Admittedly, I did not grow up on a farm, but married into one. In our early years of marriage, Hubby had asked me to help him in the field. He had me operate the tractor and bale hay while he loaded the bales onto the wagon. Can I tell you that I had Post-It notes ALL OVER the tractor. I had notes like “Step 1, put your foot on THIS pedal” and “Shift gear”. Hubby was shaking his head and told me that was what all the symbols on the tractor were for. I need explicit instructions to feel comfortable and competent.
I am happy to announce that I can now operate tractor and operate the baler.
I also know about feed rations and what a combine is used for. I even help assist with births if a heifer is having difficulty birthing a calf.
These are small triumphs that mean a lot to me. Knowledge is power and learning daily so I can support my husband on our family farm is important.
Another thing that means a lot to me is being included in events like the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic.
GFO March Classic
The March Classic is the largest grain-focused conference in Eastern Canada drawing upwards of 650 attendees from farms across Ontario, government, and industry. Centred around the theme of ‘Ontario Grains: Growing Stronger Together’, guest speakers provided attendees with a fresh perspective on promoting grains with consumers, the role of science within agriculture, and the influence of public perception and politics on agriculture.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic was the first event Hubby accompanied me to. He thoroughly enjoyed the conference, as he and I both like furthering our knowledge when it comes to all things agriculture related. Learning about the latest practices, technology, policies (and everything else ag related) only helps us so that we can apply on our own farm. If we can learn something new and help others who are not in agriculture better understand and if we can impart some knowledge, our job is half done.
It was great to see the many exhibitors present. We enjoyed chatting with the reps from SeCan, Thompsons Limited, Bunge, Pride Seeds, Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association and many others.
Though the March Classic is primarily attended by growers, it was great that non-farmers were present as well. Many people who buy food have never stepped foot on a farm and do not have a proper understanding of what happens on a farm or how things are really done.
Dr. Julie Miller Jones, Grains and Health
While there have been claims that North Americans eat far too much wheat or grain products, Dr. Julie Miller Jones shared some surprising statistics. According to Dr. Julie Miller Jones only 3-8% of us eat according to Canada’s Food Guide.
Dr. Julie Miller Jones – “Everyone eats, so that makes everyone a nutritionist that can write a blog.” (with sarcasm) It is interesting how we went from a society who instead of seeking the opinions and advice of those who specialize and got degrees in health, medicine, and nutrition, many have gone the way of listening to celebrities and pseudoscience.
Dishing out the truth and debunking the myths of the gluten craze.
IF you need to follow a gluten-free diet because of health reasons, then absolutely. However, the rest of the population (who are not Celiac or do not have a gluten intolerance), whole grains are part of of a healthy diet. “6% of the population should be eating gluten free. The remainder are not allergic or even sensitive”, says Dr. Julie Miller Jones.
In recent years, there has been a big shift in the way people think about wheat and grains. Popular diets recommend that people stop eating grains, yet there are no conclusive findings suggesting that we shouldn’t be eating grains. Unless you have a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be eating gluten or wheat products.
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Agriculture Myths and Facts
Director at McGill Office for Science and Society, Dr. Joe Schwarcz delivered a highly informative speech at the GFO Classic. He presented facts based on science and research and debunked many of the myths people may have regarding agriculture and the food farmers produce.
My favourite quote from Dr. Schwarcz:
Dr. Schwarcz reiterated the fact that correlation does not equal causation. He showed how increases in organic food sales occurred as increases in autism did. There is an increase in both, but to say that they are related or that one causes the other is simply inaccurate. Statistics can be manipulated when people cherry-pick information and do not do the proper research and testing.
On one of the slides, Dr. Schwarcz presented a list of chemicals. He asked is if they were scary chemicals or natural compounds found in an apple. To the surprise of many, they were natural compounds found in an apple. Yes, these occur in apples naturally. Acetone, Formaldehyde, and many other “scary” chemicals already exist in apples. Dr. Schwarcz explained that “only the dose makes the poison”.
Apologies for the photo. This one was of GMO-free tomatoes. Dr. Schwarcz talked about fear mongering and false claims. Dr. Schwarcz explains that there are no GMO tomatoes.
There was a lot of interesting food for thought. I would like to revisit the topic in a separate blog post, because it requires an entire blog post to itself.
I have an exciting announcement to share!
Hubby and I attended the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic Banquet and felt honoured to be among some of the many farmers in Ontario who help feed the population and hearing of their accomplishments. Today, only 2% of the population are farmers – but everybody eats!
Before the dinner and before grace, there were some opening remarks and a big announcement.
I have been included as a Grain Farmers of Ontario Instagram Ambassador! The news was officially announced at the #GFOClassic Banquet. Follow the Good in Every Grain Instagram account, as my fellow ambassadors and I will be sharing the life of grain farmers through photos/Instagram posts. I am really excited about this initiative, as I hope to share with others what it is we (myself and the other ambassadors) do on our farms and how grains are a big part of our daily lives.
Okay, one other huge highlight for me was meeting Greg Peterson from Peterson Farm Bros! I thoroughly enjoyed his talk on how the Peterson Farm Bros music videos came about, why and how they “agvocate” and just learning a bit of their story.
I leave you with one of my favourite Peterson Farm Bros videos:
* Thank you to Greg for joining us at the GFO March Classic. Warm thoughts, prayers, love and light go out to his family, as they recently lost their grandmother.
Victoria Ess says
Congrats! You’re the perfect blogger for the task!
Thank you for sharing this with us. Congratulations on the Ambassadorship! You are the perfect person for this. As someone who is part of a farming family, someone who is a consumer, someone who is a blogger, it is all the perfect equation for a bridge between agriculture and the rest of the public.
I have lots of words to say about the non-gluten, non-wheat diet. The man who wrote the Wheat Belly book has no business writing a book based on claims. He is not a nutritionist, dietitian or specialist in the field. How he scared people into believing his claims without proper scientific findings to support those claims is beyond me. It also speaks largely about our society and how people are easily swayed by tidbits of info. We have become a society that values more the Food Babe doctrines over actual doctors, specialists and professionals in health and nutrition. Don’t get me started on vaccinations either. The idea that it is a personal choice over protecting the population at large baffles me. I am sorry for going off on a tangent, but I just see so much wrong in a world where people feel they are doctors and professionals and thanks to Dr. Google, they can self-diagnose and self-treat.
End of rant. 🙂 I just meant to congratulate you can thank you for the wonderful post. Didn’t expect a rant!
Judy Cowan says
Congrats on becoming a Grain Farmers of Ontario Instagram Ambassador. Sounds like it was a worthwhile event for you to attend.