Canola Show offers more dire warning to the ag industry

Mother Nature tried once again this year to cancel the annual Canola Show held by the Northern Canola Growers, but it went on with only minor hiccups. Posted 12/7/17

By Melissa Anderson

The show had booths and informational presentations given by area and industry experts for canola growers to learn from. It was the keynote address at this year’s show, however, that provided for some very interesting insight and advice on struggles the agricultural industry may soon face.

NDSU Langdon Research and Extension Center’s (LREC) Leslie Lubenow updated producers on findings of disease and insects over the last growing season as well as the most concerning trend going into the next growing season being the striped flea beetle.

“There were high concentrations of flea beetles in Mountrail and Cavalier Counties. The striped flea beetle has been found in 16 out of 21 counties that were surveyed,” Lubenow stated.

“In Canada, there has been a species shift where striped flea beetles have over taken the cruciferous flea beetle. This may occur in North Dakota so striped flea beetle will take over the conversation.”

One of the show’s sponsors, Bayer Crop Science, had a speaker, Mr. Finlay, present to discuss the optimum seeding rate of canola as well as what producers can expect when they go under or over that rate.

“Low to ideal planting supports robust plants while high plant population has weak, thin stems and short plants. This has less contribution to yield,” Finlay stated.

Other unwanted effects of underseeding is that the plants have a slower maturity rate, higher rate of weed incidence and  over branching. Over seeding creates competition for space, light, nutrients and moisture leading to stressed plants and disease more specifically, sclerotinia.

Finlay closed his presentation by advising growers to follow seeding rates based on local growing conditions for the best result.

Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla presented the Clubroot of Canola presentation on behalf of Dr. Venkata Chapara of the LREC. Surveying has found an additional six fields in Cavalier County infected with the pathogen that causes the deformity.

The best way for producers to combat the pathogen that causes clubroot of canola and stop its spreading is through limiting brassica plants on their fields, increasing the crop rotation of brassicas to five to seven years, using resistant hybrids as well as using sanitation methods on their implements.

The keynote speaker for this year’s Canola Show was Bruce Vincent of Environimics based in Libby, Mont. Vincent provided an informative presentation on how the environmental social movement of the 1960s has morphed into a fear mongering campaign based on the practice of “stop doing that” but offers no solution on how to continue living as a consumer society.

“The culture of production has been under attack for decades,” Vincent stated.

Vincent explained that American culture is going through a shift that has urban populations not seeing past the rural stereotypes.

“There has been a collision of visions in America over the last 50 years. They [urban populations] love the stereotypical version of us, and they want to save the last best places –when they start fighting to preserve these rural areas with their vision,” Vincent explained.

As a result, Vincent continued, policies are being made not by the professional resource managers such as those who depend on the resources for their livelihood like farmers, ranchers, and loggers but by professional litigators who base their solutions theory on public perception.

“Policy is not dictated by reality. It is dictated by the public perception of reality,” Vincent said.

A prime example of this is the Save the Trees movement that occurred in the 1970s. Public opinion swayed against the logging industry which led to stricter logging and forestry laws. These laws have lead to tree over growth in our nation’s forests and the importation of lumber from developing countries that may not be using the most ecologically friendly logging practices.

Vincent has a personal experience with this, as he himself was once a part of the logging industry.

“The environmental movement originally, took incremental steps to make mankind do better. Conservation and stewardship has been replaced by fear which is used by the eco-conflict industry which depends on crisis and conflict to make money,” Vincent said during his presentation. “They take really complex issues and boiled them down to 20 second sound bytes with visuals.”

While most people in urban areas are four generations removed from the farm and rural environment, Vincent advises  that those in rural areas ask themselves, if presented with the same types of choices, what they would choose.

“They are not stupid. They are making choices based on the information they are given,” Vincent said.

The enemy of rural America is ignorance, and as a result, the public needs the truth, trust, and transparency from those in the agricultural industry.

“Water and animals are next on the conflict industry sights, which is primarily production agricultural,” Vincent shared.

Many in the industry have already felt some of the effects of this through the Clean Water Act and Waters of the United States. The increasingly negative public opinion against GMO’s has been gaining in recent years, largely due to misunderstanding and misinformation.

Vincent offers advice to production agricultural based on the previous clash that developed between the logging industry and environmentalists.

“The public doesn’t trust business, they need a human face. You need to empathize with them first and educate second,” Vincent cautioned.

The best approach is to listen to the concerns presented by the public and understand what they think are real issues then work towards finding acceptable solutions. Advocating at the local level by educating all members of the local community is another way to spread information.

“We need an environmental movement based on hope rather than fear, and rural America can lead the way. “

Bruce Vincent is a published author with a book “Against the Odds: A Path Forward for Rural America” based on this presentation available on Amazon.

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