Princess Anne talks farming in Edmonton

Princess Anne discussed both the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture during her remarks at a conference in Edmonton Nov. 6.

During her opening address at the bi-annual conference of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, the British princess said while Alberta is recognized for its livestock and grain production, it faces challenges like many others.

Such challenges, she said, include an aging farming population, farm succession, land access, environmental influences and changing consumer diets.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, Anne said, will be educating more consumers about how food is produced.

She said the common denominator of agriculture has always been to produce safe food, but there are far fewer people who understand food production.

“For the future of agriculture, we have to work at promoting how food is produced in a way that perhaps hasn’t been done before,” said Anne, who is president of the society.

This is the fourth time the conference has come to Canada and the second time it has been in Alberta. Founded in 1957, the society promotes the development of agriculture and enables the interchange of ideas.

“Although agriculture as it is practised has changed significantly since 1957 and will continue to change, the common denominator that binds it all together — ie. the safe production of food — remains absolutely the same,” she said.

Anne was encouraged by the large number of young people attending the conference. She said It’s their understanding of innovation and technology that will drive the future of agriculture.

“Developing the next generation of agriculture leaders is critical to food and farming, and I think it’s one of the aspects of this conference. It really has an enormously good story to tell,” she said.

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