Canadian Young Farmers' Forum
Established in 1997, it is CYFF’s goal to assist young farmers with information while exchanging ideas that lead to progressive strategies to ensure farming success in Canada. Through networking with young farmers – like yourself – our organization’s goal is to provide education, leadership training and capacity building for young agriculture producers of Canada.
Through CYFF’s speakers and innovative workshops, our goal is to increase all participants’ knowledge of the agriculture industry and provide positive tools to aid young farmers in successful farm management. Through the development of both national and provincial structures, participants’ leadership skills are enhanced and prepare you to take a more active role in agriculture and rural organizations.
With increased opportunities for dialogue, networking and action planning amongst participants, organizations, and industry stakeholders, more effective programs and policies across the country will result. The industry will also benefit from the creation of a pool of skilled future leaders – like you – with an awareness of issues in Canadian agriculture and a proven commitment to developing collaborative, creative solutions.
CYFF Month in Review
Carolyn Wilson, CYFF Director
What do delicious grilled steak, freestyle rapping, and many enthusiastic young farmers have in common? The CYFF conference in Toronto – that’s what!
It was a session-packed 2 ½ days with the bulk of presentations sparking discussion about risk, managing risk, and new approaches to thinking about the profitability of farming businesses. On Saturday night, Darby Allen did an amazing talk about his experiences as a fire chief during the Fort McMurray forest fire. His message about team work and sacrifice was very touching and inspirational. He really showed how nearly impossible goals could be achieved.
But for me, the highlight of the conference was the virtual farm tours. Hearing the passion in the voices of each of the farmers discussing their operations – from off-grid pork farming in the Yukon, to a small butcher making big waves in Newfoundland carrying on family traditions, and many dairy, crop and beef farmers in between. It showed me how resilient and resourceful young farmers are in finding new markets and opportunities to increase their profitability. It gave me ideas to bring back to my own operation and implement in the coming months.
Veronica Vermeulen, CYFF Director
I was lucky to attend the Fusion Conference in Milwaukee with Paul Glenn from CYFF, as well as Kim and Carly from AAFC. The conference was located in a huge city centre and there was a large attendance – over 1,000 people! The first person I met was Russ Kohler, an innovative young dairy farmer from Utah who served as the exiting chair of American Young Farmers & Ranchers. Paul, Carly, Kim and myself set up a Canadian/American trade booth and had many valuable conversations with everyone that stopped by about the strength of our trade partnership. I learned many things myself, especially about how interconnected our agricultural systems are and how we rely on each other.
Throughout the weekend there were incredible speakers including Jim Morris, as well as Redmond Ramos. Jim Morris spoke about the value of hard work and humility. Redmond Ramos spoke about overcoming adversity and how there is no strength in being the victim. I attended breakout sessions on lobbying, talking to consumers, and my personal favorite – flying drones! The Saturday night entertainment took place at the Harley Davidson Museum, where there were two levels of entertainment creating the perfect environment to meet some fellow young farmers. Paul and I were happy to meet new members of the American Young Farmers & Ranchers board including Paul, Nick, and Kelly. I look forward to getting to know them more in the coming year. As always, we are happy to attend and learn more about the great work our American neighbors do every day. Next year’s conference is set to be held in Louisville, Kentucky – can’t wait!
Rodney Reid, CYFF Vice-Chair
What a great experience engaging with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) lobby day and quarterly meeting in Ottawa. The event started off with a training day that included media training, the launch of the non-partisan initiative, Producing Prosperity in Canada. My team, along with Todd Lewis and a CFA staff member, met with Senator Diane Griffin, Francis Drouin, Robert (Bob) Nault, Ed Fast and Ralph Goodale. Over 50 meetings were held with MPs and Senators.
The Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign focuses on the benefits of the domestic agri-food industry and highlights its strengths, including: Economic Growth, Food Security and Environmental Stewardship. The MPs and Senators were engaged in the agriculture conversation and were supportive of the campaign, with many questions and highlights that showcased the strength of the agri-food industry in Canada and the potential to continued growth.
Thank you to all MPs and Senators for taking the time to meet with agriculture representatives and for pledging your support of Canada’s agri-food industries to grow and prosper, for the benefit of all Canadians. Also, a thank you to the CFA board and staff for supporting CYFF and engaging young farmers. To learn more about the Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign, please visit: www.producingprosperitycanada.ca
Carolyn Wilson, CYFF Director
On April 23, I was invited on behalf of New Brunswick Young Farmers to attend a roundtable discussion with the Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The event was facilitated by the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick and representatives from major commodity groups were present including the Atlantic Grains Council, vegetable farmers, dairy and beef farmers, pork farmers, egg farmers, and blueberry producers. Pat Finnigan, the Member of Parliament for Miramichi-Grand Lake was also in attendance.
During this roundtable discussion, I spoke on challenges facing young farmers and potential solutions. I provided a bit of context for the Minister on the current state of agriculture in our province: according to the 2016 Census – NB was the province that reported the largest percentage decrease in total farm area of all provinces in Canada. NB also saw a drop of nearly 14% in the total number of farms between 2011 and 2016. I highlighted a number of challenges facing young farmers including the lack of labour, poor access to land, implications of climate change and challenges in obtaining public trust. I then discussed at length the greatest barrier preventing young New Brunswickers from “digging” into agriculture: risk.
“The biggest challenge is our feeling of uncertainty in the future of Canadian agriculture. Our young dairy farmers are concerned about supply management and the future of the quota system. How can young farmers afford to pay for their father’s million-dollar dairy operation when they feel threatened they’ll lose it completely? Where is the stability young people can feel confident investing in? We also have the risk of weather – extreme weather – like frost and flooding. Do we have crop insurance programs that help young farmers stay afloat? Or when damages are high, are the programs unable to give farmers the money they need? The list goes on. Many, many young farmers in this province are working full time jobs off the farm to make ends meet and pay off their debts. How is this sustainable? How can we mediate risk for our young farmers?”
I concluded my speech by providing some potential solutions, including: 1) implementing EI programs similar to those in place for self-employed fishermen, 2) offering crop and farmland insurance programs that provide adequate compensation for young farmers in the early years of their farms, 3) securing a market for New Brunswick grown products in public institutions like schools and hospitals, and 4) providing more risk management and technical training to young farmers though organizations like NBYFF and CYFF. Many other producers echoed my points during the discussion. Other issues mentioned included: challenges with new livestock transportation regulations, a lack of farmer-business training opportunities, a lack of professional/technical advice, a need for Canada to explore new markets for our products (less of a reliance on single markets), and lack of price assurance in the beef industry – to name only a few. The Honorable Marie-Claude Bideau listened keenly to each of the farmers. She concluded the roundtable by highlighting some of the federal budget funds dedicated to agriculture, including a focus on promotion of Canadian food products with the aim of developing strong pride for Canadian products.
SAVE THE DATE
Young Farmers’ Forum
March 6-8, 2020
Join us in charlottetown!
Stay tuned for further info about next year’s conference.
CYFF is the national organization affiliated with provincial and territorial organizations. Young Farmers from across Canada have the opportunity to connect with their peers at the provincial level through the independent provincial organizations or by attending CYFF’s national young farmers conference which brings young farmers from each province together at the annual event to network, learn and contribute to the future of ag programming.
Exciting news about the CYFF program FARM YOUR NUMBERS, PRESENTED BY RBC®, was announced at the 2019 CYFF Young Farmers Conference! One young farmer from each province could EARN A FREE SPOT in the program which includes a trip to the 2020 CYFF Conference in Charlottetown, thanks to our supporter RBC!
® Trademark of Royal Bank of Canada.