Hello Grainews readers! My name is Kari Belanger and I’m so thrilled to be taking over from Leeann Minogue as editor of Grainews. It happens to be one of my favourite agricultural publications, so being its editor and its champion is particularly important to me. I have known Leeann since she took on the role eight years ago. No one is more aware of the large boots she has left to fill — not only do I admire her seemingly effortless ability to lead the publication and juggle all aspects of the job, I was fortunate enough to work with her in a professional capacity, and in many ways, she taught me how to be a better editor. She also recommended me for this position, for which I will be ever grateful.
Grainews is completely unique in the industry. It’s the only publication offering practical, relevant and credible production information for Prairie crop and livestock farmers, with the intent to directly increase farmers’ bottom lines. Also, it offers a different reading experience than other publications. Sitting down with the latest Grainews is like having a conversation with your neighbour; one you can learn from, laugh with and even commiserate on farming in Western Canada. It’s the top-notch writers and columnists who make this publication interesting and, at times, downright entertaining.
Here’s a little bit about me. I grew up in a small town in northwestern Ontario where I spent most of my time outdoors exploring nature and cataloguing flowers, trees, insects and anything else that grew, crawled or flew. From these beginnings, my interest in science and nature evolved. It was during my years at the University of Calgary I also developed a love of writing. In 1996, I completed my formal education graduating with a B.Sc. in biology and a BA in English literature. Shortly after, I began my career as a writer and editor. Now, almost 25 years later, I have worked for many different industries and media, including trade publications and newspapers.
I have been fortunate to work exclusively in the agriculture industry for the past 10 years, writing as well as leading a number of publications as editor. I have a keen interest in crop production and agronomy, and a particular passion for grower-focused publications, which comes from a deep respect for Canadian farmers and the hard work they do to feed us and the world, as well as support our economy.
Agriculture is important to Canadians and our economy, and I’m proud to play a small role in this industry. You probably know the numbers well — the agriculture and agri-food industry contributes more than $110 billion annually to Canada’s gross domestic product and employs one in eight Canadians, as reported in 2017. That year, the Government of Canada in Budget 2017 challenged the sector to reach a target of $75 billion in exports by 2025 and the Report of Canada’s Economic Strategy Tables: Agri-Food recommended even higher goals of $140 billion in domestic sales and $85 billion in exports (an increase from $64.6 billion in 2017) by 2025.
None of that can happen without you. At Grainews, we want to provide content that helps support you in your efforts to increase yields, cut costs, reduce labour, increase efficiencies and grow profits. This year, and into the future, we will continue to focus on offering you information that is directly applicable to your farm operations to meet your production goals. You will also be seeing more how-to features on every aspect of farming and farm life. You can expect to see all your favourite columnists and contributors as well as some fresh faces, including a new machinery and shop editor, who will be making his first appearance in the April 21 issue, but more about that in my next column.
We’d also like you to help guide the content Grainews creates for you. We’d love to hear your topic ideas and the information you’d find most useful for running your farms. Contact us with your suggestions at [email protected] or Twitter @Kari_Grainews.
I love this industry and I’m committed to supporting its growth, strength and resiliency. I look forward to getting to know you and providing you with some great content. I predict we’re going to have a fantastic year together!