I always enjoy spending time in 'agricultural' social circles. While I love meeting and spending time with people from all walks of life, people from agriculture likely have the same deep roots in agriculture as I do and share the same passion I have for agriculture and food.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a highly-engaged group of people to discuss my professional work as a young entrepreneur, paired with my thoughts on where I see the agriculture industry heading. To make for an interesting talk, I addressed the tough questions that I know the industry needs to ask itself and try and answer. For this, I discussed the 5 challenges that I believe the sector faces. But, because I am an eternal optimist and truly believe there is so much opportunity that awaits, I discussed how these 5 challenges are opportunities in the making for our industry to capitalize on.
5 Challenges (and Opportunities) Faced by Farmers in Canadian Agriculture
- Changing our mindset: Acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses as an industry
- Consumer awareness, expectation and perceptions of farmers
- Attracting new farmers and succession planning for current generation
- Using social media and technology to lead the conversation and influence those around us
- How do we work together and embrace the generational changes among us?
Taking the time to reflect from an industry perspective was a very eye-opening exercise even for me. Its something I think more people in the industry should do more often. Really, any person in any industry should ensure they do this same exercise and reflect time to time. That was one message I shared with the crowd that evening, was that the best leaders know their weaknesses as good as they know their strengths... and most importantly, they know how to work-around (or work with) their weaknesses.
Because agriculture is a way of life for my family, I feel indebted to agriculture for everything it has given me and the upbringing it provided me. I attribute where I am now in my personal and professional life to agriculture and food.
And because my talk a few weeks ago stimulated so much discussion for myself and those in attendance, it got my mind racing, thinking of how I can work with my colleagues and friends in the agri-food sector to better address these challenges I identified above for our industry. I know that agriculture and food needs to better promote a healthier, more open and honest dialogue between farmers and with consumers to take ourselves more seriously and have consumers look at us more seriously as industry experts in what we do.
And from this, #FarmFoodConsumer was born. Its the idea that helping farmers and consumers better understand each other by promoting more effective, open and honest conversation for both parties involved will only lead to a healthier outcome in the end for both farmers and those consumers who are interested in ag and food and/or need to better educated on ag/food.
More blog posts to come on addressing each of these challenges above and also more on the movement of what #FarmFoodConsumer means. If you're not from agriculture but enjoy eating everyday, make sure to stick around. You'll enjoy the conversation too! That's the whole point of discussing agriculture and food, we're all connected through food.