Agriculture month in Saskatchewan

Come rain or shine or snow, October is Ag. Month

As many of you may be aware, October celebrates agriculture month in Saskatchewan. For us Saskatchewanians, it shouldn’t be hard to see why our government would dedicate a whole month to celebrating one industry. Agriculture and land was the original reason for settlers moving to the province, forming communities and modernizing agriculture over time. While there are fewer farms today, agriculture has remained an important part of our culture and economy. In 2017, agriculture accounted for 6.9% of the provinces $60.6 Billion real GDP. Saskatchewan agriculture plays the largest role in GDP amongst all other provinces (2nd and 3rd places going to PEI 5.7% and MB 3.8%).

#OurFoodHasAStory

Agriculture is the source of our food. Without agriculture, society would not be what it is today, who knows what would have come of our ancestors had they not settled into agrarian life. With the domestication of crops and animals, communities settled into the need to barter and trade, and explorers set out for riches of land, resources, culture and often brought back new crops and animals. From these explorations, our plates have become more diverse, as Canadian & US territories original crops were berries, pumpkins and sunflowers, not very filling. Thanks to domestication, our wheat has changed over the past 10,000 years from its origins of the Eastern Hemisphere’s Fertile Crescent to be one of Saskatchewan’s major cash crops. The rape and mustard, part of the brassica’s (canola) that grows so well in our province originate from Southeast Europe and Mediterranean (South and east). The hearty cattle of the prairies are predominantly European varieties whose ancestors originate from the It’s clear that the sources of our food have stories reaching far back into early civilization.Origin of crops map of Saskatchewan agriculture

Today in our global environment, our food comes from all around the world. Saskatchewan is still the breadbasket of Canada, producing nearly 47% of all Canadian field crops. Last year, Saskatchewan produced 46% of all wheat grown in Canada, 55% of the canola, and 57% and 52% of oats and barley.  Since our climate is ideal for these crops, we are a net exporter, last year’s exporting $1.67 billion in Canola oil, $1.89 billion in non-durum wheat, and $1.24 billion of lentils. While SK is a breadbasket, it’s not known for being a large producer of vegetables or fruit, so our province relies on the production of other provinces across the country. We also rely on a sizable amount of vegetables imported from the US, Mexico, Central and South America and fruits from all around the world. You can find out more about your food by looking at the SKU code on your food and the origin of imports.

More than food

Agriculture is more than just food. The industry is broad, not only does agriculture represent the production of food, the crops and animals we produce reach industries of fuels, textiles, medicine and so much more. Agriculture is built on scientists and researchers, engineers and tradesmen, salespersons of machinery and inputs, agronomists, environmental analysist, commodity buyers and traders, logistics, and so many more within our province and beyond our borders.

This month let’s take the time to celebrate agriculture in Saskatchewan, and all those involved, near and far. If you’re involved in the industry share your story using #OurFoodHasAStory and #AgMonth18.

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