Farm­ing Smarter to take part in Open Farm Days

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Heather Cameron

Farm­ing Smarter will be one of many lo­ca­tions that is par­tic­i­pat­ing in Open Farm Days on Au­gust 17.

“Farm­ing Smarter is a non-profit reg­is­tered Cana­dian char­ity that fo­cuses on projects to im­prove the re­silience of crop pro­duc­tion in South­ern Al­berta,” Ken Coles, Gen­eral Man­ager of Farm­ing Smarter, says. “We want peo­ple to come here for Open Farm Days and have a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence. We strive to sneak some knowl­edge in with fun, hands-on op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Coles says that this year will be the fourth time that Farm­ing Smarter has par­tic­i­pated in Al­berta Open Farm Days.

Dur­ing their event, Farm­ing Smarter will of­fer wagon ride tours through their re­search farm to share some of the cool things that the com­pany stud­ies with the in­tent of giv­ing at­ten­dees a sense of how much farm­ers cur­rently have to know in or­der to be suc­cess­ful.

Coles says that there will also be an “ask a farmer” booth that will give ev­ery­one the op­por­tu­nity to ask a cur­rent farmer about their op­er­a­tion. A kids zone will of­fer face paint­ing, crafts and games with an agri­cul­tural twist. Farm­ing Smarter, Coles says, has asked a num­ber of other busi­nesses, or­ga­ni­za­tions and farm­ers to par­tic­i­pate and set up a “booth” where par­tic­i­pants can learn or see some­thing dif­fer­ent at each one.

Booth ex­hibitors, Coles says, will in­clude Coal­dale Bak­ery, who will talk about dif­fer­ences in flour; GreenHaven, who will talk about gar­den soil; Earthly Mat­ters with worms, 4-H, Win­ter Wheat Ini­tia­tive, Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Leth­bridge, AJM Seeds, Al­berta Canola, Bench­mark Meats, bees with a gov­ern­ment re­searcher, weed iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and tech­nol­ogy with Xarvio, field scale equip­ment deal­ers, and Oak­lane Colony with fresh pro­duce.

“We want to give ev­ery­one the op­por­tu­nity to visit our re­search farm, to learn about cur­rent pro­duc­tion prac­tices, see agri­cul­ture re­search and cur­rent tech­nol­ogy, talk about what the crops are pro­cessed into, climb on mod­ern day equip­ment, and do other won­der­ful things,” Coles says.

Coles says that Farm­ing Smarter in­spires and em­pow­ers in­no­va­tion in agri­cul­ture by bridg­ing ideas, con­duct­ing prac­ti­cal re­search, shar­ing knowl­edge that they ap­ply to the adap­ta­tion and adop­tion of in­no­va­tive crop tech­nolo­gies and man­age­ment . Farm­ing Smarter, Coles says, also ap­plies, adapts and en­cour­ages adop­tion of in­no­va­tive crop tech­nolo­gies and man­age­ment prac­tices that make farm­ing suc­cess­ful, and sus­tains en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and eco­nomic health.

“Farm­ing Smarter is a rel­a­tively young or­ga­ni­za­tion with deep roots in south­ern Al­berta crop pro­duc­tion,” Coles says.

“It grew from a soil con­ser­va­tion as­so­ci­a­tion and an agri­cul­tural re­search as­so­ci­a­tion that saw a ben­e­fit to work­ing to­gether. That op­por­tu­nity proved to be an ex­cel­lent part­ner­ship that evolved. The suc­cess of the orig­i­nal part­ner­ship fos­ters an open at­ti­tude within Farm­ing Smarter to­ward part­ner­ships that achieve use­ful ad­vance­ments in all ar­eas of its core man­date; which is to pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion south­ern Al­berta farm­ers need to be pro­gres­sive busi­nesses in Cana­dian agri­cul­ture.”

With their head of­fice lo­cated just east of Leth­bridge, ac­cord­ing to Coles, Farm­ing Smarter con­sists of a team of seven ded­i­cated staff and a gang of sea­sonal stu­dents, all of whom per­form the work of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

There are also satel­lite re­search sites near Medicine Hat and Taber.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion, Coles says, fol­lows pol­icy gover­nance di­rected by a vol­un­teer Board of Di­rec­tors with ma­jor­ity pro­duc­ers with mem­ber­ship in­clud­ing agri­cul­tural stake­hold­ers in­ter­ested in fur­ther­ing the ob­jec­tives of the as­so­ci­a­tion.

“Farm­ing Smarter re­flects the val­ues and ex­pe­ri­ence of its ori­gins as it grows into a strong or­ga­ni­za­tion en­abling south­ern Al­berta farm­ers to pros­per,” Coles says.

“Farm­ing Smarter fo­cuses on re­gional re­search projects that im­prove or en­hance ef­fi­cient man­age­ment and lead­ing-edge pro­duc­tion prac­tices. Th­ese ef­forts pro­vide lo­cal so­lu­tions to im­prove prof­itabil­ity and gen­er­a­tional en­durance of farm busi­nesses. Farm­ing Smarter be­lieves that un­bi­ased re­search leads to trusted re­sults; that open com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­vides mu­tual ben­e­fits and that part­ner­ship moves the whole re­gion for­ward to­gether.”

Coles em­pha­sizes that the guid­ing prin­ci­ples of Farm­ing Smarter in­clude pos­sess­ing ci­en­tif­i­cally sound, prac­ti­cal, un­bi­ased re­search, be­ing re­spon­sive to mem­ber and client needs, hav­ing an open at­ti­tude to­ward part­ner­ships, pro­vid­ing con­cise and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble in­for­ma­tion, and be­ing a source of fun and in­ter­ac­tive learn­ing.

“We are an amaz­ing group of peo­ple who work hard and have fun!” Coles says. “We do re­search that is mean­ing­ful and prac­ti­cal to help farm­ers. Our events help us share what we learn from re­search to the peo­ple that need it. We play an im­por­tant role con­nect­ing in­di­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions op­er­at­ing in this in­dus­try.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Farm­ing Smarter’s Open Farm Days event, visit: https://www. farm­ings­marter.com/event/open-farm-day/.

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