by Erin Zatylny
Successful farming, in part, is about continuing education. The more farmers know, the more efficient they can make their operations. This desire to learn, share and grow is what has brought a group of progressive farmers from the Wetaskawin, Alberta area together. These 12 like-minded individuals have met monthly through the winter since 2006. When the group contacted AdFarm’s Kim McConnell and asked if he could spend some time with them in Calgary, they had no idea the incredible day Kim would line up. I was lucky enough to spend the day with Kim and 10 of the ‘AgBoys’, touring the city and meeting some key players in the western Canadian crop industry. We started at the offices of Canada’s largest farm finance organization, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) for a presentation and discussion with Clem Sampson, VP, Western Operations along with Marcel Lemire, Matt Olsen and Shane Ekdale. The group and I received updates on interest rates, land values and some of the great ag initiatives FCC is behind, like Agriculture More Than Ever.
Lunch was spent with Tyler Groeneveld, Market Manager with Dow AgroSciences. Tyler provided an excellent overview of the expectations of the big food companies and the opportunities and challenges required in having them utilize Canadian agricultural products as ingredients in their branded foods.
After lunch we went to the offices of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, where President and CEO Brant Randles, along with Alex Bos, gave an in-depth look at current market trends and commodity prices. I never realized what a significant role corn crops played in driving the market and market prices across the ag industry. It was very interesting to gain the Louis Dreyfus perspective on the changes that are occurring in the grain-handling industry.
Our group then headed to the AdFarm offices for a presentation from Todd Ormann, Crop Portfolio Manager, Cereals, of Syngenta. Todd taught us about some of the breakthroughs the company is making in wheat technologies. The future and opportunities in CPS wheats really captured the interests of the AgBoys from Wetaskiwin!
Finally, over dinner, Kim shared thoughts on the agriculture industry in general, where he sees it heading, and some excellent advice on buying – and wrapping- the perfect gift!
I know that the AgBoys would agree with me when I say that it was truly an amazing day, and that the knowledge we gained is invaluable. For myself it was a privilege to be surrounded by people who have such a passion for bettering the ag industry, and who are so committed to making positive changes happen. I gained a new appreciation for just how much goes into farming and how important it is to stay on top of new developments across the industry.
A very heartfelt thank you to Kim and the AgBoys, and everyone who helped make the day such an awesome experience!