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March/April 2012 – Agricultural redaction

Is secrecy the new tool in agriculture?

It may be that the long and honourable tradition of farmers helping farmers is being replaced by a more selfish, I’ll-look-after-my-own attitude.
A grain producer in Manitoba recently said that the get-big-or-get-out imperative of commodity production meant that he actually needed his neighbours to fail so that he could keep expanding. If a neighbour needed an extra combine to get the harvest in, well, this fellow wasn’t going to be in a rush to help.
A couple in BC developing a market garden said that they no longer willingly shared production tips with newcomers. With more people getting into farming and a relatively finite number of customers for the products, they felt that a free exchange of information would only hurt their business.
Well, I can play that game too. It just so happens that Small Farm Canada staff have been preparing a Special Feature on new and wildly successful products and techniques of interest to farmers. We were about to give it a full feature in this issue but if secrecy is the new tool in agriculture, then we’ll provide a redacted version:

? A doctor and part time farmer in Peterborough, ON, says he’s quadrupled production from his laying hens simply by adding _______ to the feed. Sourced for free from _________, he adds just ? cup per tonne. Egg yields are an incredible _________dozen per hen. “Farm income is beating income from my medical practice by 3:1,” he says. “I don’t know why others aren’t doing this, it is so simple!”

? Government aid to small farmers is all too rare, and when it is offered it requires filling out a mass of paperwork. Not the little known Ag___________ Program, somewhat surprisingly available through the federal government’s Department of _____________. Following a simple on-line application that takes a few minutes, funds are delivered within a week in a 1-tonne _____________, usually in $20s, $50s but sometimes $100s. One farmer in PEI reported that he received so much ________ that he had to build a __ sq ft shelter to handle it all . Fortunately, there was assistance for that too. For more information: www. ____________all-the-_______ you-need.com.

? Tired of seeing Canada geese ravage his crops, a vegetable producer in Alberta installed a $10 ________ salvaged from his brother-in-laws’ 1980 Toyota __________ at the edge of his field, and has seen damage drop by over 95%. “The geese just fly past,” said Herman __________ of East __________. “Whatsmore, and as a bonus, the ___________ seems to be keeping school groups and members of the ________ sect away from my door too.”

? Want to increase profits at farmers markets? Fed up with languishing sales, Gina _________ , a market gardener from __________ , hired three magnificently well- _________ members from the local health club to staff her booth at the __________summer market. Clad only in tiny ________, and slathered in _________ oil extracted from _________ (that Gina grew herself), they demonstrated to customers the wonderful uses of ___________. “Even when we doubled the price, customers were lined up four deep,” she said.

But seriously, who wants farming to become possessed of the competitive kill-or-be-killed attitude that has poisoned so many other businesses? Certainly not me. If any readers want details of the above stories, just call and I’ll be happy to oblige. I can always be reached and 250-4__-02___.