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Agriculture

“The Family Farm” is a poignant short film about a farmer’s relationship with the land

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4 minute read

Anna Kuelken was not even born when I left Fort Assiniboine in the early 1980’s to pursue a life that didn’t include farming. I wasn’t particularly well-suited to it, though for the first 18 yeas of my life, I knew little else.

Anna was raised on a family farm in that same tiny community a few hundred kilometres NW of Edmonton. Her experience may not have differed much from my own; things don’t change quickly in a community of 150 hardy souls more than 200 miles from the nearest city, in this case Edmonton.

Her father Peter and I were of a similar generation.  Although a few years older than me, we grew up attending the same small school, and knowing most of  the same people.  To give a sense of size, there were 19 in my high school graduation class, the 2nd largest in history. Our people farmed for the most part, and almost all had other jobs off the farm to support their habit. Today the notion of the “family farm” is challenged more than ever in its history.

While the family farm I was raised on has been gone from the family for 3 decades, Anna is still very attached to land she grew up on.  She recently submitted this short film she produced about her father’s relationship with the land. It examines the changing dynamic and circumstance of the family farm; at times seeming very much like the now almost 40 years removed from my own day to day experience, and yet, not that different.  Farmers still work off the farm to support their habit, just like my dad did in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It remains a solitary and noble lifestyle for those who have survived.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the relationship between a farmer and the land they farm.

Anna’s father Peter Kuelken provides some background:
…This  farm and I became acquainted in 1958. I was 2 years old and was the child of immigrant parents who loved us as dearly as they did the country they had come to. It was at a very young age that I was taught about the power of the land. I learned from my parents the importance of the respect for the air the water the soil and the life that flourished there. In my later years returning to the farm was because of the love that had been in my life from my family and community.
My return was because of the sense of security of this life that was imbedded in my soul as a child.   The miracle of life that emerged constantly around us and the curiosity it created was something that my wife and I wanted our children to embrace and have in their lives. We also followed the path of the conventional agriculture but returned to a holistic model that is sustainable.  We now use technology and the tools that it provides to be better stewards of this land.   I am so proud now that my children carry this flag of stewardship in its truest sense.  They now have become like our indigenous people in the understanding of the importance of this land which sustains us. The circle of life continues…”

by Peter Kuelken

Read more stories from Todayville.com. 

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Director Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) musician, photographer, former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Agriculture

Degrowth: How to Make the World Poorer, Polluted and Miserable

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From StosselTV

Activists have a new goal: “DEgrowth.”

They say “growth is killing us.” They couldn’t be MORE wrong.

“Growth is not killing us. It’s saving us!” says author Johan Norberg. He explains why growth is essential to human progress, especially for poor people. “In poor countries, if you manage to grow by 4% annually over 20 years,” he points out, “that reduces poverty in that country on average by 80%.

But DEgrowth activists insist that growth means “climate chaos.” They say a smaller economy would be “sweeter.” They say “We must urgently dismantle capitalism!” It’s destructive nonsense. This video explains why.

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After 40+ years of reporting, I now understand the importance of limited government and personal freedom.

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Libertarian journalist John Stossel created Stossel TV to explain liberty and free markets to young people.

Prior to Stossel TV he hosted a show on Fox Business and co-anchored ABC’s primetime newsmagazine show, 20/20. Stossel’s economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits by a non-profit organization, “Stossel in the Classroom.” High school teachers in American public schools now use the videos to help educate their students on economics and economic freedom. They are seen by more than 12 million students every year.

Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club.

Other honors include the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.

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Agriculture

How oil and gas support food security in Canada and around the world

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General view of the ‘TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic Showmanship’ within the 101st edition of Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, on November 6, 2023. The Royal is the largest combined indoor agriculture fair and international equestrian competition in the world. Getty Images photo

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Mario Toneguzzi

‘Agriculture requires fuel, and it requires lubricants. It requires heat and electricity. Modern agriculture can’t be done without energy’

Agriculture and oil and gas are two of Canada’s biggest businesses – and they are closely linked, industry leaders say.  

From nitrogen-based fertilizer to heating and equipment fuels, oil and gas are the backbone of Canada’s farms, providing food security for Canadians and exports to nearly 200 countries around the world.  

“Canada is a country that is rich in natural resources, and we are among the best, I would even characterize as the best, in terms of the production of sustainable energy and food, not only for Canadians but for the rest of the world,” said Don Smith, chief operating officer of the United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative.  

“The two are very closely linked together… Agriculture requires fuel, and it requires lubricants. It requires heat and electricity. Modern agriculture can’t be done without energy, and it is a significant portion of operating expenses on a farm.” 

The need for stable food sources is critical to a global economy whose population is set to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. 

The main pillars of food security are availability and affordability, said Keith Currie, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA). 

“In Canada, availability is not so much an issue. We are a very productive country when it comes to agriculture products and food products. But food affordability has become an issue for a number of people,” said Currie, who is also on the advisory council for the advocacy group Energy for a Secure Future. 

The average price of food bought in stores increased by nearly 25 per cent over the last five years, according to Statistics Canada. 

Restricting access to oil and gas, or policies like carbon taxes that increase the cost for farmers to use these fuels, risk increasing food costs even more for Canadians and making Canadian food exports less attractive to global customers, CFA says. 

“Canada is an exporting nation when it comes to food. In order for us to be competitive we not only have to have the right trade deals in place, but we have to be competitive price wise too,” Currie said. 

Under an incredible Saskatchewan sky, a farmer walks toward his air seeder to begin the process of planting this year’s crop. Getty Images photo

Canada is the fifth-largest exporter of agri-food and seafood in the world, exporting approximately $93 billion of products in 2022, according to Agriculture Canada.  

Meanwhile, Canadians spent nearly $190 billion on food, beverage, tobacco and cannabis products in 2022, representing the third-largest household expenditure category after transportation and shelter. 

Currie said there are opportunities for renewable energy to help supplement oil and gas in agriculture, particularly in biofuels.  

“But we’re not at a point from a production standpoint or an overall infrastructure standpoint where it’s a go-to right away,” he said.  

“We need the infrastructure and we need probably a lot of incentives before we can even think about moving away from the oil and gas sector as a supplier of energy right now.” 

Worldwide demand for oil and gas in the agriculture sector continues to grow, according to CEC Research.  

Driven by Africa and Latin America, global oil use in agriculture increased to 118 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2022, up from 110 million tonnes in 1990.  

Demand for natural gas also increased — from 7.5 Mtoe in 1990 to 11 Mtoe in 2022.   

Sylvain Charlebois, senior director, in the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, said food security depends on three pillars – access, safety, and affordability.   

“Countries are food secure on different levels. Canada’s situation I think is envious to be honest. I think we’re doing very well compared to other countries, especially when it comes to safety and access,” said Charlebois. 

“If you have a food insecure population, civil unrest is more likely, tensions, and political instability in different regions become more of a possibility.” 

As a country, access to affordable energy is key as well, he said.  

“The food industry highly depends on energy sources and of course food is energy. More and more we’re seeing a convergence of the two worlds – food and energy… It forces the food sector to play a much larger role in the energy agenda of a country like Canada.” 

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