Nick Saik was born and raised in Central Alberta, surrounded on all sides by Agriculture. A filmmaker by trade, Nick and his father, Rob, a successful author, movie producer, and agriculture advocate have been working for many years to apply Nick’s filmmaking skills to advocacy in the agriculture sector.
One of Nick’s more recent productions, “Nut Milking EXPOSED” is a truly inspired piece of work, regardless of what side of the “…should Nut milk actually be called milk?” argument you may be on. It’s funny. And it’s really well-produced. And this world-class production from the mind of a gifted Central Albertan is being viewed all around the world.
The actor looks into the camera and says with a straight face:
“There’s so much confusion with city folks these days. They’re talking about ‘Nuts don’t lactate. Nuts don’t have a nipple.’ I’ll show you a nut nipple,” says the 3rd generation Nut Milker from the picturesque “Nut Milkery” he operates.
The video comes to an end with the following:
“There is a debate in the dairy industry: If nuts don’t lactate why is their juice called milk?” the video asks. “Definitions matter in the world of food. What defines milk for you?”
“Besides the proximity I’ve had to it, Agriculture has always been a major draw for me,” says Nick Saik. “While I’m quite confident that I’m not cut of the same cloth that farmers are cut from, there is something in that lifestyle, and in those values that I can’t escape. My Dad Robert Saik made his living as a consultant to farmers. He’d spend the majority of his time helping farmers do more with the resources available to them. I think my investigative relationship with Agriculture is thanks to my Dad’s relationship with Agriculture.”
ABOUT KNOW IDEAS MEDIA AND NICK SAIK
The KNOW IDEAS mission is to entertain and inform audiences by presenting rationally optimistic, trustworthy, scientifically-based solutions to highly controversial subjects.
The world has been crippled by meaningless controversy. We need answers, but pessimists aren’t the sort of people that tackle seemingly insurmountable problems. In response, the father and son team of Rob and Nick Saik champion a rationally optimistic approach to resolving the world’s challenges, and they use science as the common ground on which we all can meet.
Despite often having very different views from very different generations, through their work Nick and Rob prove that important discussions are always most productive when they are based on scientifically tested facts, and are conducted in an honest and respectful manner.
No one can pay Know Ideas to change its mind, it courageously follows proven scientific evidence to wherever it leads. Our first project, Know GMO is a demonstration of this commitment in that our funding has come directly from family farmers and we have intentionally avoided any support from any seed or chemical companies that could be seen to influence our findings.
We post our sources. If we’ve said it we’ve checked it, and if it changes we’ll change too. If you’re looking for an information source you can trust on whether we should all go no GMO or pro-GMO, then join us for on our journey by watching our series Learn GMO.
New grain dryer program for farmers hit with tough harvest
New grain dryer program for farmers hit with tough harvest
February 10, 2020
A new grant program is now available to help grain farmers upgrade their grain handling systems.
The Efficient Grain Dryer Program is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and will help cover costs for eligible grain dryer improvements. Applicants will be able to choose equipment that makes sense for the size and volume of their agri-business and improve energy efficiency within their operations.
“I have a deep appreciation for the efforts being made by Canadian farmers to care for the land and environment. It is their legacy to their children. A sixth generation farmer recently told me, ‘if you don’t care for the land, you’re not in business.’ We all know how hard 2019 was for many farmers, and that weather is increasingly unpredictable. Our government is listening and finding solutions for farmers.”
“Last harvest was one of the toughest for Alberta farmers. Poor weather, trade irritants, rail strikes and a carbon tax have all hurt farmers through no fault of their own. This new program will help farmers remain competitive and keep producing the best high-quality food in the world.”
The program will be retroactive to April 1, 2018 to accommodate almost 100 applicants who have been waiting since that time and for those who may not have known about the program and purchased eligible equipment in the last two years.
- $2 million dollars is available under the Efficient Grain Dryer Program.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- Eligible expenses will be cost-shared, with 50 per cent funding from the grant and 50 per cent funding from the applicant.
- The 2019 crop season was challenging for many Alberta producers.
- The season started with a dry spring and with variable weather over the summer. There was a lack of rainfall in the southern and eastern parts of the province and the extreme northern Peace Region, for example, and a long spell of cool, wet weather in other parts of the province.
- Cold temperatures, snow and excess moisture in most parts of the province in the fall resulted in a long challenging harvest for crop and forage producers.
- Based on the final Alberta Crop Report dated Dec. 3, about 10 per cent of crops across Alberta were left in the fields to be harvested in spring 2020.
- Unharvested crops vary widely across the province – about two per cent remain in the fields in the southern region, seven per cent in central and northwest Alberta and 13 per cent in the northeast. In the Peace Region, about 32 per cent of crops are left to be combined in the spring.
What the USMCA Might Mean for Agriculture and Biotechnology?
We welcome guest writers to all of our Todayville platforms. Here’s a submission from Emily Folk. Emily is passionate about agricultural sustainability and more of her work can be found on her site, Conservation Folks. In this story, Emily Folk explains the USMCA Impact on Agriculture.
What Could USMCA Mean for Agriculture and Biotechnology?
The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) has been in the news a lot lately. The leaders of the respective nations signed the trade agreement on November 30, 2019, and ratification is pending. You can think of the USMCA as an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to renegotiate NAFTA after publicly speaking unfavourably about it. The USMCA is the result of that vow. The agreement spans several areas, such as the origin of automobile parts and new labor laws in Mexico that make it easier for workers to unionize. The USMCA also has a “sunset clause” that makes its terms expire after 16 years. Plus, every six years, the leaders of the countries involved must agree on whether to extend the deal.
Some agriculture-specific stipulations also exist within the USMCA. Additionally, the agreement notably mentions biotechnology. Here’s a closer look at how the USMCA might change these two industries.
More Exporting Opportunities for Farmers
One of the key points often mentioned about the USMCA is that parties expect the agreement to cause a $2 billion increase in U.S. agriculture exports, triggering a $65 billion rise in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Canada and Mexico are currently the top two exporting markets for American farmers, supporting more than 325,000 American jobs. In 2018, the food and agricultural exports destined for Canada and Mexico totaled more than $39.7 billion.
The USMCA also opens exporting opportunities that did not exist before. Now, U.S. dairy farmers will have expanded access to send products such as fluid and powdered milk, cheese and cream to Canadian parties. There will also no longer be U.S. tariffs on whey and margarine. This change is notable, considering the Canadian dairy market produced roughly 17% of the United States’ annual output over the past three years.
In exchange, Canada will give the United States new access to chicken and eggs, plus increased access to turkey. Plus, all other agriculture products traded between the U.S. and Mexico will be under a zero-tariff model.
Moving Forward With Agricultural Biotechnology
Another improvement associated with the USMCA is that it looks at agricultural technology more broadly than other trade agreements have.
For example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a proposed trade agreement between 12 nations — only addressed biotechnology regarding recombinant DNA (rDNA). That process involves joining the molecules from two different species, then inserting the product into a host to create new genetic combinations. Instead, the USMCA opens possibilities for all kinds of agricultural technology, including gene editing. Moving ahead with biotechnology could be crucial for addressing pressing matters that affect agriculture, such as water scarcity.
Approximately 700 million people suffer from water scarcity, and that number could double by 2025. Also, the agriculture industry is the greatest user of water. Things must change — both to address the growing water scarcity problem and to give farmers more options for growing things without using so much water.
Biotechnology has already helped, and it seems highly likely to continue spurring progress. In one example, scientists altered the expression of one gene common to all plants. This change led to a 25% increase in the plants’ water-use efficiency without adversely impacting yield or photosynthesis.
As part of the USMCA, Mexico, Canada and the United States agreed to improve information sharing and cooperation about biotechnology matters related to trade. That change could speed new developments, resulting in positive outcomes for all involved groups and the world at large.
Fairer Agricultural Grading Standards
A grading system for agricultural products defines trading procedures. For example, commercial buyers of a product grown in another country refer to the grading standards to set expectations about a product’s quality. The USMCA specifies that Canada will evaluate U.S. imported wheat and assign it a grade no less favourable than it would give Canadian-grown wheat.
Canada will also no longer require country of origin statements associated with inspection certificates or quality grades. The United States and Canada will discuss issues related to seed regulations under the USMCA, too.
Concerning Mexico and the United States, the two countries agreed to non-discriminatory grading standards and services. Moreover, a dialogue will begin between the two countries to flesh out the details for quality standards and grading regarding trade.
A Promising Future
It’s too early to say what the real-life effects will be of the changes outlined here. But, the commitments laid out within the USMCA seem like they’ll represent clear improvements for agriculture professionals, as well as everyone who benefits from their goods.
I’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation. You can read more of my work by clicking this link: Conservation Folks.
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