Stay Informed  November 9 & 10, 2020

Agenda & Featured Speakers

The agricultural event experts at Glacier FarmMedia are putting together a program for the virtual Farm Forum Event that will draw progressive farmers and ag professionals from across Canada.


The line-up of speakers for the Farm Forum Event will provide information and insight on a wide range of topics that will help you think differently about how to grow your business, whether you are providing services to the ag community or are an active producer.


Erin Armstrong, PhD

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation title: The Contribution of Variety Development to Crop Management

Presentation overview: Variety performance – regardless of crop type – is a critically important piece of a farmer's crop management strategy. Variety development leads to improvements in performance, of which farmers can take advantage of, plus new approaches to variety development are increasing options for farmers.

Profile: Erin Armstrong has had a long career in agriculture in Canada. She currently holds (on a part-time basis) the position of Executive Director of the Barley Council of Canada (BCC). In this role she is responsible for oversight of the organization, implementation of the strategic plan and member engagement.

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Prior to joining BCC in July, 2019, Erin worked for Canterra Seeds for 11 years as Director of Industry & Regulatory Affairs, after first serving as Director of Research & Product Development. She also served for two years as the inaugural CEO of Limagrain Cereals Research Canada (LCRC), a joint venture cereal breeding company established by Limagrain and Canterra Seeds, launched in 2015.

Previous to her time in the seed industry, Erin spent 14 years in the malting and brewing industry as President and CEO of the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI) and in several positions with Canada Malting Co. Limited.

Erin currently sits on the board of Canada Grains Council (representing BCC). She formerly sat on the board of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) and chaired the Minister’s Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Office. In addition, she has been a member of numerous committees and working groups during her career in executive and chair positions.

Erin holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa.

Mark Belmonte

Professor, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation title: Biotech's role in integrative pest management

Presentation overview: Next generation biotech tools are currently being developed to protect some of Canada's most important crops. This talk will focus on the development and application of next generation molecular fungicides and pesticides using an integrative pest management approach. 2 key messages: Supporting advances in biotechnology will provide novel solutions for Canadian producers. Advances in biotechnology tools will provide safe, healthy, and sustainable means to feed the world.

Presentation title: Amping up Your Yields Using Plant Hormones

Presentation overview: Plant hormones play essential roles at every stage of the crop lifecycle. This presentation will explain how growers can use plant hormones to harness the genetic potential of the crop and to help the crop.

Profile: Dr. Mark Belmonte is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Mark received his BSc and MSc from the University of Calgary before moving to Winnipeg where he obtained his PhD in plant science in 2008. After a brief postdoctoral fellowship at UC Davis, Mark moved back to Winnipeg to start his own lab in the Faculty of Science.

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His work holds the promise of solving world food shortages while significantly bolstering Canada’s agricultural economy. Dr. Belmonte’s group uses cutting edge next generation molecular tools to improve crop production and protection of some of Canada’s most important agricultural crops.

Mark has published his work over 55 times, been the recipient of numerous awards, and is devoted to promoting science education and research at outreach events across Canada and takes pride in training the next generation of young scientists.

Stanford Blade

Dean, University of Alberta, Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, Edmonton, Alberta

Presentation title: Whatever You Think You Know About Agriculture-the Future Will Not Be What You Expect

Presentation overview: The talk will use the top 10 clichés about the future of agriculture and suggest that the future of agriculture and food will look very different.

Two key messages in the presentation:

1. We have an amazing industry filled with great people-but we need to make the tent larger.

2. The things that made us successful in the past

Profile: Dr. Stanford Blade is Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (University of Alberta). The top-ranked Faculty is made up of 500+ faculty and staff, 1650 undergraduates and 550 graduate students. The Faculty has an annual budget of $85m, with approximately $45m in external research support from industry and funding agencies.

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LES is focused on teaching, research and community service in its departments: Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Sciences (where Dr. Blade is a Full Professor); Renewable Resources; Human Ecology and Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology. In 2018 Dr. Blade was named an International Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.

Ryan Boyd

2019 Nuffield Scholar, South Glanton Farms, Forrest, Manitoba

Presentation title: Grazing Ruminants: A Resilient Solution to Long-Term Agriculture Profitability, Productivity and Climate Change

Presentation overview: Grazing ruminants provide many benefits to the agroecosystem including better nutrient cycling, promoting soil microbial life, plus enhancing the soil’s ability to sequester and store carbon and use water more effectively. All of these benefits can directly and indirectly improve farm profitability and create societal value as the natural resources that the farm relies on is enhanced.

Profile: Ryan’s Nuffield Scholarship took him around the world to various countries including Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and the UK where he visited with leading farmers and researchers discussing regenerative agriculture and how we can maximize the resilience on our farms in western Canada.

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Ryan operates South Glanton Farms just north of Forrest, Manitoba with his wife Sarah, daughter Piper, son Bingham, and parents Jim and Joanne Boyd. The farm focuses on integrating cattle and grain crops to capitalize on the many synergies that exist between the two. The farm consists of approximately 300 Black Angus beef cows, calving in June and a diverse crop rotation, plus the family has recently launched a direct-to-consumer beef business called Boyd’s Beef.

Aaron Breimer

General Manager, Veritas Farm Business Management - A Division of Deveron UAS, Chatham, Ontario

Presentation title: Pretty Maps or Useful Insights?

Presentation overview: The ag industry has had 20+ years of generating maps from data layers but less than 5% of farmers are creating useful and profitable insights from their data. We will look at the value of employing analysis tools that help measure the interactions between data layers so that decisions that are more profitable can be made.

Profile: Aaron Breimer was raised on a farm in southwestern Ontario, which his parents still currently run. After completing his B.Sc. (Agr.) degree from the University of Guelph, he worked for 10 years in the ag retail industry before taking on a variety of roles that focused on agronomy, precision agriculture and data science. He is passionate about assisting farmers to maximize their profitability by making sound agronomic decisions that can be measured and managed. When he is not reviewing soil tests or yield data, he enjoys scuba diving as well as playing rugby.

Bruce Burnett

Director of Markets and Weather, Glacier FarmMedia MarketsFarm, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation title: Market and Weather Update

Presentation overview: Bruce will discuss the major happenings in the market and weather during the 2020 growing season. In addition, the initial outlook for the 2021 crop year will be covered.

Profile: Bruce Burnett has been living and breathing Western Canadian agriculture for over 30 years. The combination of practical experience gained by growing up on a farm in western Manitoba and years of monitoring global weather and markets for the Canadian Wheat Board gives Bruce a unique perspective on the agricultural markets. His specialty is the analysis of weather conditions and their impact on global agricultural markets. Bruce is an enthusiastic speaker who will deliver an authoritative perspective on markets for crops grown in Western Canada. Bruce currently is the Director of Weather and Markets for Glacier FarmMedia and resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Jarrett Chambers

Chief Commercial Officer, Concentric Ag & President, ATP Nutrition, Macdonald, Manitoba

Presentation title: Biologicals – Is Your Farm Ready for the Future?

Profile: Jarrett is a leading expert in the interaction of nutrients and integration of biostimulants in plant physiology. He founded ATP Nutrition, one of the largest plant nutrient suppliers in Canada, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Concentric Ag. He spearheaded the development of ATP's System of Chemtrition™, a simplified, easy-to-use, agronomically sound nutritional system for growers.

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Prior to establishing ATP Nutrition, Jarrett held lead agronomic technical positions with a multinational fertilizer company. Through these experiences, Jarrett was able to take product innovations such as ESN and Duration Slow Release fertilizers from concept to commercialization. Over the past 20 years, he has focused his efforts on understanding the physiology and interaction of nutrients within the plant. He has leveraged his nutrient knowledge in working in the fruit, vegetable, turf grass and nursery markets to develop the current ATP Nutrition product line for broad acre crops.

Jarrett holds a Master of Science in Soil Fertility and Microbiology from the University of Manitoba, where his research included determining the mode of action of JumpStart and Agrotain technologies. Today, Jarrett is the Chief Commercial Officer for Concentric Ag, where he leads the sales and marketing efforts for their three families of products (biostimulants, nutrition and analytics).

Sylvain Charlebois

Scientific Director, Dalhousie Food Analytics Lab, Canadian Agri-Food Foresight Institute, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Presentation title: It's getting complicated out there, and that's a good thing!

Presentation overview: The Canadian agri-food landscape is continuously changing to remain competitive. Disruptions in how Canadian consumers shop and buy food are a constant in today's fast changing world. Consumers today do not appear to enter the experience looking for a radical new way to shop, but they seem to be influenced by several aspects of their daily lives. Some aspects are obviously more predictable than others, but how will these influence managerial practices in the future? As the line between food service and retailing blurs, how will this impact agriculture and farming in general? By examining food cultures and trends more closely, along with technology-driven solutions emerging, Sylvain Charlebois will engage in an open dialogue about the futurology of food systems. Here are some relevant topics Sylvain will touch on: Rise of Plant-based protein, Beyond Meat phenomenon, Consumers and dieting trends, Opportunities and challenges for Canadian products & Artificial intelligence technologies.

Profile: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a Professor in food distribution and policy in the Faculties of Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

He is also the Senior Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab, also located at Dalhousie University. He is as well the former Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. While at the University of Guelph, he was also the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Business and Economics.

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Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. He is one of the world's most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability.

He has authored five books on global food systems, his most recent one published in 2017 by Wiley-Blackwell entitled “Food Safety, Risk Intelligence and Benchmarking”. He has also published over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles in several academic publications. Furthermore, his research has been featured in several newspapers and media groups, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Foreign Affairs, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star.

Dr. Charlebois sits on a few company boards, and supports many organizations as a special advisor, including some publicly traded companies. He also has done some work on social licensing, which include public trust assessments and risk communication evaluations. Charlebois is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Business Scientific Institute, based in Luxemburg. He conducts policy analysis, evaluation, and demonstration projects for government agencies and major foundations focusing on agricultural policies and community development both in Canada and in development settings. Dr. Charlebois is a member of the Global Food Traceability Centre’s Advisory Board based in Washington DC, and a member of the National Scientific Committee of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Ottawa. He has testified on several occasions before parliamentary committees on food policy-related issues as an expert witness. He has been asked to act as an advisor on food and agricultural policies in many Canadian provinces, in the United States, Brazil, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, China, Great Britain, Finland and the Netherlands.

Andrew Coyne

Political Columnist for Postmedia, Toronto, Ontario

Presentation title: The Political Landscape – Where are we headed?

Presentation overview: Known for his insightful, provocative commentary, Coyne offers insights on the intersection between policy and politics, specifically how it pertains to the agriculture industry — the economic and social policy challenges facing the country, and how well governments are facing up to them.

Profile: A National Post original, Andrew Coyne’s journalism career has also included positions with Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail and the Southam newspaper chain. He has been a regular contributor to The National’s At Issue panel since 2005. Andrew is a Fellow of the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto.

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With topical and timely presentations, Andrew is sure to ignite discussion with every audience. He is thoughtful, intrepid, and never afraid to speak his mind. He has established himself over the last two decades as one of this country’s most passionate and articulate commentators on political and economic issues.Though he claims he to have a distaste for politics, Andrew considers himself an optimist and believes that there is a better politics out there – and that it is the role of the media to help bring it out. He has contributed to a wide range of other publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Time and Saturday Night.

Carlo Dade

Director, Trade and Investment Centre, Canada West Foundation, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: The State of Canada's Ag Trade in Uncertain Times: Major Issues, Opportunities and Agenda for Action

Presentation overview: What are the major issues facing Canada ag sector? Carlo will provide a review of the near and longer term risks and opportunities for Canadian ag and what the farm community should be advocating for government and industry policy responses. Two messages that will be provided are a deeper understanding of global risks and opportunities, and the ability to make sense of what's behind the headlines.

Profile: Carlo Dade is Director of the Trade and Investment Centre at the Canada West Foundation which focuses on increasing growth and profitability in western Canada's export economy. Mr. Dade is a frequent expert witness at parliament and media commentator on Canadian trade issues including North American trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, trade agreements and the importance of trade infrastructure to the national economy.

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Mr. Dade is a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI) and a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C in addition to Sr Fellow in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Otttawa. Mr. Dade began his career in the Latin American and Caribbean region Technical Department at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and subsequently ran Caribbean operations for the Inter-American Foundation, a U.S. government foreign aid agency.

Kelly Dobson

President, LeaderShift Inc., Fairfax, Manitoba

Presentation title: Training for Farm Succession and Whatever Comes Next

Presentation overview: Farm succession can be one of the most emotionally demanding events a family will experience. Getting it right matters financially and to the ongoing relationships inside and outside of the farm. The good news is that the high-consequence and emotionally-charged moments of modern farm business can be trained for. Our abilities can now be measured and the right training can develop our capacity to not only handle these pivotal moments, but to thrive in them. Kelly will discuss how integrated approaches to professional development are setting up the current and next generation of agricultural professionals for success.

Profile: Kelly Dobson is an active fourth generation farmer who is committed to de veloping leader performance in agriculture and family businesses. Kelly takes his decades of farm and industry experience and adds his lifelong passion for leadership to support agriculture leaders to improve their performance through LeaderShift Inc.

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Accepting that there are no quick fixes to increasing leader effectiveness, Kelly developed the LeaderLab to network, train and support clients wherever they live and work. His commitment to developing the LeaderShift system has evolved with the partnership of Farm Management Canada into the National Farm Leadership program. It continues to integrate leader assessment, positive psychology, family systems and leadership theories to provide comprehensive development to Canada’s current and future ag space leaders. Kelly holds a Masters in Leadership and an Executive Coaching certification from Royal Roads University and is a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. When he is not studying for his psychology doctorate and farming, he contributes to Country Guide Magazine and provides workshops across Canada.

Alastair Handley

President, Radicle, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: Sustainable Supply Chains and Carbon Markets: Challenges and opportunities for growers in a world going green.

Presentation overview: We'll be discussing how the demands of corporations for sustainable products and carbon pricing initiatives being set by governments are creating challenges and opportunities for farmers. We'll also provide an overview of carbon markets and what they really mean.

Two key messages in his presentation:

1. The scope of the climate change issue and the actions being taken to help mitigate it.

2. How farmers can leverage the carbon market to generate revenue through low/no-till farming.

Profile: Alastair Handley is the Founder and President of Climate Smart Group (CSG) and Carbon Credit Solutions Inc, (CCSI). His recent appointment to the World Bank Advisory Group for Operationalizing Article 6, recognizes Alastair as a leader and authority on Environment Markets worldwide.

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Intellectual and experienced, Alastair has a gift for educating and communicating the complexity of environmental markets and sustainability initiatives in easy to understand, meaningful ways. To this end, Alastair continues to advise governments and Fortune 100 companies and has been invited to speak across the globe on the importance of environmental markets and their proven ability to drive consequential change.A pioneer in the environmental market space, Alastair designed and developed one of the first software platforms in the world to aggregate and quantify large-scale emission reductions. Leveraging his prior experience with geographic information systems and software design, Alastair created a world-class technology that has helped CCSI’s 3000+ clients develop millions of carbon offsets.

Alastair’s software platform was created in response to Alberta developing the first carbon market in North America. A global leader, the province’s environmental foresight is the foundation on which Alastair built his companies. The success of CSG and CCSI domestically and internationally exemplifies how emission reduction markets can build wealth, generate jobs, create export opportunities and protect the environment for future generations at once.

Kevin Hursh

Founder, Hursh Consulting & Communications Inc., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Farm Forum Event Master of Ceremonies

Presentation title: Agriculture: Hang on for a Wild Ride

Presentation overview: While everyone acknowledges the huge changes that have occurred in agriculture, the rate of change will only accelerate. A multitude of forces from technology to politics will create the future operating environment.

Profile: Kevin Hursh is one of the country’s leading agricultural commentators. He is an agrologist, journalist and farmer. Kevin and his wife, Marlene, run Hursh Consulting & Communications based in Saskatoon and also own and operate a farm near Cabri in southwest Saskatchewan growing a wide variety of crops. Hursh Farms specializes in specialty crops while working with an adjacent cattle producer for mutual benefit. Kevin writes a weekly column for The Western Producer and serves as executive director for the Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan and the Inland Terminal Association of Canada (ITAC).

Rigas Karamanos

Senior Agronomist, Koch Fertilizer Canada, ULC, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: Contemporary Soil Fertility Issues

Presentation overview: A number of issues have dominated prairie agriculture in recent years: weather patterns, increasing size of farms, introduction of high-yielding crop cultivars and fluctuating crop prices. These, along with the adoption of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Principle, have brought a number of fertility issues to the surface. The presentation will cover issues such as phosphorus fertility, balancing need to application rates, surface application of Nitrogen and pros and cons of topdressing.

Profile: Dr. Karamanos received his BSA from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry and Fertility from the University of Saskatchewan. He has taught at the University of Saskatchewan and McGill University, and has served as the Senior Research Agronomist with Esso Chemical Canada, Director of the Saskatchewan Soil Testing Laboratory and Enviro-Test Laboratories Saskatoon and Manager of Agronomy with Westco and Manager of Agronomic Solutions for Viterra.

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Dr. Karamanos is the Sr. Agronomist with Koch Fertilizer/Agronomic Services in Canada. He has participated in number of international projects in Greece, Zambia, India, North Korea and China through the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations or the Canadian International Development Agency. He was granted a Fellow and the Distinguished Agronomist award in the Canadian Society of Agronomy in 2013 and 2019, respectively, and was inducted in the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2015.

Andy Kirschenman

Harvest Moon Farm LTD, Hilda, Alberta

Farmer panel: Soil Health

Presentation overview: Our farm is on a soil health journey and about the only thing we know is where we came from and how different it is from where we are now. As we learn more and more, we realize both how much we already knew, and how much we might never know all at the same time.

Profile: Andy Kirschenman farms with his wife and parents on a dryland farm near Hilda, Alberta. He grows winter and spring cereals, oilseeds and pulses in a diverse no-till system based on stripper headers and disc drills. In October 2017, a wildfire affected half of the acres he farms and he is now trying to get those acres healthier than they were before the fire. Currently his belief is that nature is a guide, but when we as mankind, created in the Image of the Creator, are willing to work with nature, we can be better together.

David Lobb

Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation title: The Great Wind Erosion Mystery

Presentation overview: Wind erosion is widely regarded as a major threat to crop production in the Canadian Prairies. Wind erosion events occur frequently and the dust they generate is very conspicuous. But does wind erosion result in significant soil loss, and if it does, where does that soil go?

Profile: Dr. David Lobb is a Professor of Landscape Ecology in the Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba. David grew up on a farm in southern Ontario, earned degrees in Toronto and Guelph and was engaged in soil conservation work in Atlantic Canada before moving to Manitoba. He is internationally recognized for his research in tillage translocation and tillage erosion, particularly for his advances in experimental methods and modelling.

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In addition to his teaching responsibilities and many professional commitments, David has published nearly 100 scientific papers and book chapters on soil erosion and soil conservation and made over 400 presentations. His expertise in soil erosion and conservation has been sought by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank Institute and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in addition to provincial and federal government agencies across Canada.

David currently co-chairs the FAO’s Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soil and he serves as a board member for the Soil Conservation Council of Canada. David is a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Soil Science and of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and he was inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in 2015.

Tim Nerbas

NRG Farms Ltd, Waseca, Saskatchewan

Farmer panel: Soil Health

Presentation title: The Importance of Soil Health

Presentation overview: The importance of soil health can’t be overstated. Over the past 30 years, Western Canada has experienced a paradigm shift in its cropping systems. Direct seeding led to drastic reductions in both wind and water erosion. However, this was only one positive step to improving soil quality. Now we need to embrace the next stage of improving our soils. Adoption of new ideas and technology plus modifications to our own personal mindset are required to take the steps necessary to make the next meaningful change. Life is not static and neither are our soils. Sustainable Ag is not simple but Simple Ag is not sustainable.

Dale Overton

CEO, Overton Environmental Ent. Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation title: Understanding How Ecological Functions Contribute to Modern Agriculture

Presentation overview: In this talk, Dale will discuss what ecological functions are important for modern farmers (N fixation, P-mobilization, organic matter management, disease suppression and how plant growth promoting microbes influence crop development). The overarching premise of this talk is the growing regenerative approach to agriculture and how to use biology to reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 

Profile: Overton Environmental operates a diversified manufacturing company focused on creating sustainable crop inputs and organic waste management solutions. Utilizing the most advanced ecological techniques, we have been able to engineer a variety of high-end microbial products. Our entire philosophy is based on returning resources back to the earth – from waste to resource is a fundamental philosophy in our business model.

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Overton Environmental is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba with a large satellite facility in Giroux, Manitoba. Currently we operate a large worm farm in downtown Winnipeg and a large compost facility in Giroux, Manitoba.

Overton Environmental is committed to helping our clients understand and reduce the impacts of their activities on the environment and conform to government regulations. As such, we manufacture an array of products under the "Essential Organics™ and EcoTea™" umbrella and provide expert services including consulting, custom soil blending, soils manufacturing, composting, product co-packaging and product distribution.

Colin Rosengren

Rosengren Farms, Midale, Saskatchewan

Farmer panel: Soil Health

Presentation title: Fundamental Strategies for Intercropping

Presentation overview: Colin will discuss objectives and strategies for successful intercropping as a key piece in soil health management and overall sustainability. He will cover identifying the problem you are trying to solve, planning and preparation for successful intercropping and how to keep an eye on making a profit.

Profile: Colin is an owner-operator of Rosengren Farms and a co-founder and shareholder in Campresso, the Saskatchewan-based camelina oil pressing company that owns the Three Farmers brand. He is also the Vice President of Agronomic Practice and Protocols at Clean Seed Capital Group Ltd. Colin is a third-generation farmer who is an early adopter of innovative production practices such as zero till and intercropping.

Barb Stefanyshyn-Coté

Owner/Founder, Black Fox Farm and Distillery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Presentation title: From 5,000 acres to 80: Our Value-Added Journey

Presentation overview: In an effort to get closer to the customer, we switched from broad-acre production to value-added farming. Rather than shipping our grain in rail cars, we chose whisky barrels. Sizing down the farm has been a lesson in customer relationships, but at the end of the day, we believe that when the question is why? the response should always be: why not?

Profile: Barb and husband John are the owners and founders of Black Fox Farm and Distillery, located near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where they carefully cultivate grains, fruits and flowers to transform them into award-winning gins and whiskies. They welcome guests to their farm throughout the year for tastings, tours, festivals and the opportunity to pick flowers from the acres of fresh-cut flowers they grow. John and Barb are third-generation farmers, and both are graduates of the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Nuffield Scholars. They have both been recognized as Outstanding Young Farmers in Saskatchewan and Canada, as well as the SABEX Entrepreneurs of the Year. Their goal is to craft the perfect Canadian whisky with an eye towards sustainability and improving the land on which it was produced.

Sharon Sun

Trade Policy Economist, Canada West Foundation, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: The State of Canada's Ag Trade in Uncertain Times: Major Issues, Opportunities and Agenda for Action

Presentation overview: What are the major issues facing Canada ag sector? Carlo will provide a review of the near and longer term risks and opportunities for Canadian ag and what the farm community should be advocating for government and industry policy responses. Two messages that will be provided are a deeper understanding of global risks and opportunities, and the ability to make sense of what's behind the headlines.

Profile: Sharon Sun specializes in research on international trade, investment and trade infrastructure policy and is a trade policy economist where she provides empirically sound analyses and policy recommendations. She has taken the lead on research projects including the impact of Chinese industrial policy, Made-in-China 2025, on Canadian trade and western Canadian export opportunities with Japan under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Other work includes the impact of trade agreements on trade infrastructure, addressing Chinese non-tariff barriers on Canadian agricultural exports, and other trade agreement and trade related issues.

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Sharon is a Ph.D. candidate at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. She has a background in international business (B.IB, Carleton University; MSc IB, ESCI-Pompeu Fabra University) and various international work experiences in business analysis, research and consultation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was an associate researcher with the Centre for Trade Policy and Law and an instructor at the Sprott School of Business.

Shane Thomas

Global Digital Ag Lead, Farmers Edge, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: Connecting the Dots in AgTech

Presentation overview: Agriculture is moving at lightning speed. Listen to where we came from, where we are and where we are headed in agronomy and AgTech. Find out what tools and technology will enhance agronomists and farmers in the future.

Profile: Shane brings a decade of agribusiness experience with a diverse skill set across numerous areas of the agriculture landscape. After graduating from the University of Lethbridge with a degree in Agriculture, Shane began as an agronomist in Saskatchewan and Alberta optimizing farmers’ decisions to achieve higher yields and profits, then advanced to become a senior agronomist who trained agronomists and ag retail sales staff on the fundamentals of crop production and progressive agronomic practices.

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With a drive to take on new challenges, Shane seized the opportunity to oversee marketing and distribution functions for a large ag-retail across the prairies that involved developing go-to-market strategies, streamlining logistical processes and championing AgTech initiatives.

As Global Digital Ag Lead at Farmers Edge, Shane supports the Farmers Edge team, partners and customers to successfully utilize digital tools. Shane is passionate about approaching different areas of agriculture with an open mind and a dynamic ability to integrate them all together. Taking concepts from science, psychology, economics and more, he endeavours to enhance the way we approach agribusiness and contribute positively to the rapidly changing industry.

Kelly Turkington

Research Scientist, Plant Pathology, Lacombe Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe, Alberta

Presentation title:  Foundational Plant Disease Knowledge is Key to Getting the Most out of Current and Future Management Technologies.

Presentation overview:  Deriving cost-effective yet satisfactory levels of disease management is a concern for both existing tools and new technologies on the horizon. The presentation will demonstrate why having foundational knowledge of the nature of plant diseases allows for the effective use of these tools in terms of: the right tool or tools, the right rate or level of use, use at the right time, and use in the right place.

Profile: Kelly Turkington is a plant pathologist at the Lacombe Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in Lacombe, Alberta. His main focus is on management of cereal and canola diseases as part of collaborative studies with colleagues from across Canada. Thanks to his father Tom, his graduate student supervisor Robin Morrall, and his interactions with farmers, industry staff and research/extension colleagues over the past 50 years, Kelly has developed a passion for field-based plant pathology research and the development of practical solutions for effective disease management.

Markus Weber

Co-Founder, LandView Drones, Edmonton, Alberta

Presentation title: Practical Drone Workflows for Agronomists

Presentation overview: Drones may eventually replace some crop scouting functions, but for now human interpretation still trumps algorithms. Drones already provide value by saving agronomists time, measuring spatial extent of issues and ensuring that critical issues aren't overlooked by providing a view of the entire field not possible from the ground.

Profile: Markus Weber grew up on a mixed grain and cow-calf operation just west of Camrose, Alberta. He worked in the law and government before returning to agriculture as a consultant with Serecon in Edmonton. Their business often focuses on the intersect of competing land uses, where the need for better aerial imagery led to LandView Drones. LandView sells complete drone systems paired with an ‘Ag Drone School’ where participants learn to use Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems safely, legally and in ways that save time and money. Markus provides consulting services and drone equipment for many environmental and agricultural uses, including field agronomy.

Blake Weiseth

Applied Research Lead, Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Presentation title: Data-driven Management Decisions at the Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm

Presentation overview: This session will provide an overview of the field-scale applied research projects at the Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm and will highlight the use of digital infrastructure to inform management decisions.

Profile: Blake Weiseth grew up on a mixed grain and cattle farm in southwest Saskatchewan near Shaunavon. He obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Soil Science from the University of Saskatchewan and is a Professional Agrologist with the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists. Currently, he is the Applied Research Lead at the Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm and holds an industry-funded Research Chair position with Saskatchewan Polytechnic.


Make the most of your virtual conference experience with Table Talks, lively discussions with fellow producers, consultants and industry representatives. Join the conversation at a table hosting a topic that interests you. A guest speaker, sponsor or exhibitor will be the host at each table but it is your involvement with fellow growers and consultants that will make for the liveliest discussions. Consult our schedule to view the topics.


The Farm Forum Event virtual trade show will be your opportunity to network with representatives of leading crop production, seed, equipment and ag business companies, plus view important exhibitor information, show specials and more in each booth.