The world is always changing, and that change includes how farmers grow food, how it gets from the farm to our dinner tables, and what Canadians expect of our food system. Farming and food production has changed a lot even just in the last decade as more technology and innovation are used to help make farming easier, grow better crops, raise healthier livestock, and support a more sustainable environment.
Robotics, automation, and smart systems
Some of the things you’ve learned in this book are that farming is hard work, that it’s a 365-day-a-year job, and that it can be hard for farmers to find people to work on farms. That’s why the agriculture industry is increasingly looking to robots and automated, smart solutions both to ease their workload, and to help farmers make better decisions on the farm. Nexus Robotics of Nova Scotia, for example, has developed a robot that can weed vegetable fields on its own 24 hours a day, thanks to its camera and artificial intelligence system that helps it identify which plants in the field are weeds and which ones aren’t.
Changing consumer trends
Research shows that a growing segment of the Canadian market is becoming aware and conscious of how their consumption is related to ethical questions around climate change and sustainable farming. Younger consumers in particular are concerned about climate change as an issue that will affect them in their lifetime, and how they can make a difference. Green eating is a movement by which food choices are based on sustainability principles, and a desire to reduce the environmental impact of eating and food production. The products which consumers want, and the values that are important to them, are constantly evolving, and farmers and food producers will keep up with those changes. Different farmers will meet different trends in different ways, and to do so, they’ll continue to turn to innovation and technology to make things better, healthier, and more sustainable for people, animals, and the environment.
Electrifying farm equipment
Just as many Canadians are turning to electric cars to reduce their dependence on fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, farmers are also looking to electricity to power their farm equipment. There is still a lot of work to be done to develop tractors, sprayers, combines, and other farm equipment that will run on electricity as long and as well as they do using conventional fuel, but farmers are keen to experiment with new technology.
Did you know...
In Ontario, farmers are participating in a pilot project to test how well the world’s first fully electric utility tractor will perform on Canadian farms.