Different Methods of Agriculture
A Growing Trend
Farmers who focus on sustaining the environment believe that a successful organic system begins with a healthy soil that fosters healthy plants, livestock, and people. Despite the higher costs of labour and relatively moderate yields, 1.7% of Canadian farms were certified organic in 2009.
Organic Farming - Learn More
(external link: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
The 'Natural' Solution
Farmers avoid chemicals with natural methods, such as using insects to attack agricultural pests. In this instance, a ladybug is being used to control an alfalfa weevil. This approach has no influence on a crop’s nutritional value.
Crops of the Future
Farmers decide to grow engineered crops for many reasons, including increased production and the convenient management of insects, diseases, and weeds. Genetically engineered crops account for most of the canola, corn, and soybean plantings in Canada and the United States.
Technology Use Agreement
Farmers who want to buy patented seeds must sign an annual agreement with the seed supplier. One requirement is that the farmer cannot keep seed from the current year's crop for planting the following season.
Plant Double Helix
You can only see the difference between genetically engineered and conventionally grown produce when you compare the DNA of each plant.
Most Canadian farmers focus on high productivity from a few main commodities, such as beef cattle, wheat crops, or greenhouse produce. They also grow additional crops or raise different livestock, although not as a primary resource. Crop rotation gets rid of certain pests and keeps the land fertile.
“Headstart” Colostrum Product
This dried product is made from natural bovine colostrum, and is fed to calves unable to nurse from their mothers. Colostrum contains many of the antibodies essential to keeping a calf healthy.
“Pool” Feed Bag, ca. 1980
Milk replacer was used for baby animals that had been rejected by their mothers at birth. Government, university and company laboratories focussed on producing a product with the proper balance of nutrients.
Growth Hormone Injector and Pellets
Using this tool, farmers inject their beef cattle with an implant, which increases feed efficiency and weight gain, allowing the animal to be sent to market at the ideal time. Each animal receives one pellet of growth hormone — enough to last until it is ready for market.
“Swift’s Baby Pig Formula” Metal Pail, ca. 1950
The side of the pail lists the ingredients and nutritional value of this baby pig food. Farmers needed to know that it contained all the ingredients required for healthy development.
Farmers Are Consumers Too
When we buy food, we naturally give priority to our needs as consumers, not necessarily appreciating that farmers also have priorities. These interviews explore the bigger picture.