Crop missions a time to educate, listen

The 2017 new crop missions plan to visit 18 countries that make up Canada’s top customers for wheat.

The first stop on the trip organized by Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission and the Canadian International Grains Institute, is with the millers in Canada and United States. It is often forgotten that our most important customers are in North America.

The crop missions are unique in that Canada presents the entire value chain to customers.

As a farmer, I am honoured to represent Canadian producers on this year’s missions.

As a director on Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, CIGI, and Cereals Canada, I work with the value chain and see how valuable it is that we continue to work together.

Through November, I met with customers in Japan, South Korea, China and Singapore. The delegation on the crop mission also met with officials from government and had one-on-one meetings with large buyers.

On these missions, I told our story. I answered questions about sustainability, farm practices, and how we as farmers make cropping decisions.

I was on hand to address questions on storage practices that affect food safety requirements.

I believe it is important to highlight the technical advancements that help Canadian farmers be as productive as possible, as well as ensuring that we are sustainably managing our farms.

Quality this year has been outstanding. More than 95 percent of the Canadian Western red spring wheat crop is in the No. 1 and No. 2 grades.

More than 90 percent of the 2017 durum crop is graded No. 1 and No. 2.

Delivering the technical data on the 2017 crop was only half of the job.

It was also important that we listened to our customers to ensure that the industry is moving to address any concerns. This is how we strengthen the Canadian competitive advantages of consistency, quality, and cleanliness.

The demands of our customers are the key driving force for Canadian research and innovation.

For me personally, this opportunity has reinforced the importance of the decisions I make on my farm.

An example of this would be en-suring I spray at the right time, deliver what I declare, and am engaged with current and potential market access issues.

I recommend every producer look at the www.keepingitclean.ca website, as well as www.canadianwheat.ca. As a proud, sustainable, Canadian producer I am always looking to how I can do things better, and more sustainable and profitable for both me and my farm, as well as for the industry as a whole.

Drew Baker is a Manitoba producer participating in the 2017 new crop missions. Baker is a board director with the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, Cereals Canada and the Canadian International Grains Institute.

Drew Baker is a Manitoba producer participating in the 2017 new crop missions. Baker is a board director with the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, Cereals Canada and the Canadian International Grains Institute.

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