The final communiqué from the first annual G-3 Agricultural
Summit held at Lumsden, Saskatchewan last week, got over shadowed by media
attention to the new Sakundiak/Meridan unloading auger, so I felt it necessary
to draw specific attention to this meeting, which will likely change
agriculture as you know it.
The G-3 leaders as none of you will know, are the three
Grainews (G) editors Lyndsey Smith, editor, Scott Garvey, machinery editor and
Lee Hart, field editor. (Some have referred to us as The Three Wise Men (girl)
dinner in the quiet, little Qu`Appelle Valley community of Lumsden, just
outside of Regina. Security was very light – although we did have a retired
RCMP officer in our midst for crowd control in case fans or protestors showed
up. They didn’t.
After a great steak dinner, the business session hammered
out these conclusions:
Canadian farms and machinery are getting too big. No one needs a 5000
bushel seed cart behind a 200 foot wide air drill.
cattle are the best cattle for all purposes in all situations. They are
docile, easy keepers, have tender meat and compact frames. If you are
going away for the weekend or a quick shopping trip to Walmart, you can
get several in the box of a pickup truck and take them with you. (Just
don’t let your wife make pets out them or you’ll never be able to get rid
future machinery company buy-outs will be allowed. It is getting too
difficult to keep track of who makes what machinery anymore since
companies keep buying out other companies and may or may not change the
name and/or colours.
grain farmers should be using manure to grow crops.
- It is hoped the Canadian Wheat
Board issue gets resolved soon, one way or the other. This has been a
very, very long-running story.
- If you
are looking for a great place to stay in the greater-Regina area, the
Eclectic Bed and Breakfast in Lumsden (www.lumsdenvalleyantiquesbookscollectibles.ca)
is a great place, unless you are trying to lose weight, then stay away. (I
wish my wife would leave apple pie on my bed stand at night, it might help
resolve a lot of long-standing conflicts.)
childbirth is a good thing.
finally, a six-inch store-bought Turtle cake makes an excellent dessert,
although personally I think the serving pieces could have been a little
And there we have it. All problems solved.
With an age range from early 30s to late 50s (I’m not ready
to say sixty yet), the G-3 reflect thinking of several generations. Careers and
interest of the G-3 over the years have been diverse, but we all have farm
backgrounds — we grew up with manure squishing between our toes (at least I
did, maybe the rest wore shoes in the summer). Besides the summit, we had
gathered in Saskatchewan to attend the Farm Progress Show in Regina.
As progressive and open minded as we are, at times we may
have sounded like a bunch of organic farmers in some bucolic community in the
French countryside, rather than hardnosed ag journalists smack in the middle of
the soggy Canadian prairie grain belt.
Some of the questions that got the conversation going: Are farms getting too big? Is bigger
better? Are farmers relying too much on “purchased” inputs rather than
What happens to smaller or new farmers who may want to
expand? At one time criticism was leveled at Hutterites for buying farms and
pricing land out of reach, now it’s the guy down the road who needs another two
or three sections so he has room to turn his 200 foot wide air drill and 5000
bushel seed cart.
Where is size headed?
And just those few questions lead to a wide-ranging
discussion that also included natural childbirths, RCMP training policy, hockey
riots in Vancouver, politics, and the high cost of establishing a goat farm.
Fortunately, we are well informed on all these topics.
An important point to be made, agricultural editors aren’t
just one-dimensional people who sit around discussing grammar and spelling —
although that is fun. No, we jump right in and try to fix the industry we are
It’s a good thing we are there because I don’t think farmers
would figure this stuff out for themselves.
Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at [email protected]