Albertaâ€™s four major crop commissions are addressing a growing need for the grain sector to meet high sustainability standards needed to maintain and expand international market competitiveness. The crop commissions contracted Ipsos Reid to conduct a phone survey of Alberta growers in late June to gain a better understanding of farmersâ€™ readiness to benefit from internationally recognized sustainability standards and beneficial management practices.
Jolene Noble, Extension Coordinator for the newly formed Farm Sustainability Extension Working Group (FSEWG) says, â€œCanadian agriculture has a very positive image in the global market place and Alberta growers are progressive, innovative, and dedicated to the stewardship of their land.â€ This reputation positions the Alberta farmers to be leaders in the sustainable agriculture movement and capitalize on emerging market opportunities.
â€œWe are living in a world where fewer and fewer people have a connection to agriculture. At the same time there is a growing interest by consumers as to where their food comes from,â€ says Jason Lenz, Vice Chairman with Alberta Barley. â€œSustainability is increasingly important to consumers, restaurants, and food retailers, so we need to be able to demonstrate that we are producing a sustainable product and dedicated to continued improvement on this front.â€
In mid to late June, growers will be receiving phone calls from Ipsos Reid to answer questions regarding their production practices. Results from this survey will enable the industry to quantify the great work that Alberta growers are already doing on farm sustainability. Building on the work from the Alberta Crops Sustainability Certification Pilot Project from spring of 2015, the working group will assess the results and provide resources and extension support to continue advancing on farm sustainability production practices in Alberta.