GFN member Kristjan Hebert, Canada, presented the farmers view as a panelist for the Word Trade Organization’s Agri-Food Business Day.
The panel explores the views of industry and farmers on the functioning of GVCs, examining how to increase their resilience and the lessons that can be learned from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and current political turmoil.
Kristjan farms 28,000 acres in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan, Canada, growing malt barley, hard red spring wheat, canola, fall rye, yellow peas and oats. He returned from university in 2008, determined to grow the family farm from the 2,000 acres that it was as he was growing up.
Kristjan used his interests in finance (heâ€™s a CPA) and people to make the business decisions and assemble the team needed to grow. The farm forward contracts its crops and adjusts the crop rotation to some degree according to the sales contracts that can be accessed.
The farm uses no-till on most of its acres, with minimum tillage on the rest. Technologies include variable rate fertilization and a 6-9 year nutrient management plan that includes numerous ways to apply fertilizer. This offers some risk management in years like this one when fertilizer prices are high.
Kristjan is working in collaboration with his brother who raises livestock, to produce silage for the cattle, then grow a cover crop thatâ€™s available for grazing, in turn adding manure fertilizer to the land. From an environmental viewpoint, he thinks itâ€™s important to get farmers and livestock producers working together.