For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Trudy Kelly Forsythe
CFGA Communications
Phone: 506-832-0338
Email address: [email protected]

It's not all about production
Soil health is critical to the future of Canadian farming

CHATHAM, ONT. (Oct. 26, 2016) - If Canadian farmers are going to continue to grow food, they need to take control of soil health.
"The 'one in a hundred year' weather events are happening more frequently," says Blake Vince, a farmer and Nuffield scholar who studied farmland conservation and the importance of biodiversity. "We need to have soils functioning at their best capacity to withstand these catastrophic events."
Vince is a featured speaker at the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association's 7th annual conference in Winnipeg Nov. 15 to 17. He will speak about his studies, as well as on changes Canadian farmers need to make to achieve improved soil health.
Vince says all farmers are vulnerable to weather. They do, however, have control over planting cover crops like perennial forages, which protect the soil and prevent run-off.
Cedric MacLeod, executive director of the CFGA, says including annual and perennial forages in crop rotations will increase soil organic matter levels. That leads to increased internal drainage and soil moisture-holding capacity - both important in times of extreme weather events like excess moisture or drought.
Vince calls on producer organizations to work together to do a better job of promoting and educating farmers on the benefits of cover crop systems and to move away from the high-production, high-yield mindset.
"Industry is driving us towards the goal of produce, produce, produce," Vince says. "We need to take a step back and realize it's not all about production at all cost."
MacLeod, who is also an agronomist, says it is possible for effective cover crop systems to improve farm profitability. It requires a shift in thinking, however, and a focus on the long-term economic benefits of healthy production systems.
"Nurturing our soils with a focussed effort on enhancing soil health will help us to achieve high yields, put dollars in producer pockets and sustain this vital resource for the generations that will follow us," MacLeod says.
Complete details about the conference are available  here.
About Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
Incorporated in 2010, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association provides a national voice for all Canadians who produce hay and forage products and for those whose production is dependent upon forage/grassland production.