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Is Michael Bloomberg wrong about farmers?

with Robert Saik

Original premiere date: 10 July 2020

Yum yum, food – glorious nutritious and delicious food produced in Canada.

In his book, Food 5.0 Agrologist and international consultant Robert Saik points out that less than 0.2 percent of the population of this country are farmers of consequence. That’s just enough people to fill the stands at a professional hockey arena and it’s enough skilled people to feed Canada and millions – if not billions – of others around the world.

Contrary to what Michael Bloomberg said: “I could teach anybody to be a farmer. It’s a [process]: you dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes corn.” Not even close, says Robert Saik: “The production of food is extremely complex. Seed varieties change to meet soil and weather conditions on a county-by-county basis. Tractors use laser guided GPS systems to line up row after row of seeds.” Tilling is a doctoral study unto itself. In the vast prairies of North America, tillage is an out-of-date practice, yet tilling the soil in the wetlands of coastal BC may or may not be required depending on soil conditions. There is no-one-size-fits-all in agriculture.

To grow food, you need four elements: fertile soil, sun, water and carbon. Those are the building blocks of photosynthesis, a combination that has to be just right. Getting it just right is not easy. Rain, snow, hail, wind individually and, at times, collectively make farming an art that relies on science and technology to get it right.

Saik says, “The next 30 years are arguably the most challenging years in agriculture`s history. As the global population grows from 7.6 to 9.5 billion people, the question is, ‘Will we be allowed to feed them?’” Saik contends that agricultural policies that are developed by voters who have never set foot on a farm, mixed in with a heavy application of the precautionary principle, those policies will ensure we cannot feed the world.

We invited Robert Saik, author of Food 5.0 and ag industry thought leader, to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the remarkable world of farming in Canada.

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