Farmers Need A Better Social, Economic and Environmental Balance

CANADA - The vice-president of Keystone Agricultural Producers says that to remain viable, farmers must better balance the social, economic and environmental aspects of their operations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 June 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Keystone Agricultural Producers vice-president and environment committee Chair Ian Wishart told those at yesterday's Manure Management 2007 event in Winnipeg that surveys show society is generally happy with farmers as managers of environmental issues, but farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to make money.

Ian Wishart-Keystone Agricultural Producers

On any business operations, particularly family based business operations like we have in agriculture, you've got the SEE program, which is social, environmental and economic and, if you don't work out some type of rational balance to that, you will simply not survive as an operation.

Specifically to the environment side of things these days, a lot of it is the livestock enterprise itself and issues related to that, the odor issues, the manure storage issues, the noise issues, that sort of thing.

On top of that we have manure management which is a principle issue around having a good livestock enterprise and working with your surrounding countryside.

Also nutrient management has become a really major issue particularly in some water sheds and certainly here in Manitoba we're part of that water shed problem.

We continue to have to worry about things like soil conservation, soil erosion.

Often that's related to nutrient management but it has other issues and we have demands all the time on us in terms of better habitat management.

We also have to worry about things like greenhouse gases which are coming down the ladder so to speak and we have to figure out how we're going to manage those things in the future.

Things like water management are becoming increasingly important.

Water s a really major asset.

We use it as livestock producers in a very major way and as irrigators in a very major way and we have to figure out how to work that all into the whole scenario so it becomes a very complex thing just on its own right.

Wishart notes there has been a great deal of focus on environmental issues, which isn't a problem, but we need to bring the economics and the social aspects back into balance.

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