Planning for the future

FROM THE CEO'S DESK

Barry Senft, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario

WHILE I WAS out west at our farm harvesting, having the capability of auto steer on the harvest equipment made me marvel at the technological advancements I have seen in my lifetime of farming and my mind couldn’t help wandering to thoughts of the future and what the future holds for the industry.

When I think about the future, technology is an area where I know there will be advancements. As an example, I am excited about recent information that smart planters that can plant different hybrids from the same piece of equipment based on soil profiles are in development to take us to the next level of yield maximization. After moving to Ontario from the west and seeing the growth of the GTA first hand, I think these technologies will be increasingly more important to produce more with less land.

I am not, of course, the only one in our organization thinking about what the drivers of change in our industry might be. Grain Farmers of Ontario has engaged a firm called MNP to manage a project that will ultimately produce two or three different scenarios for the future under different categories or “drivers of change” identified by the board, staff and representatives from the industry – technology, the urban/ rural relationship, immigration, global demand and the global economy, public expectations: i.e. sustainability and the environment, changing consumer wants and needs, public policy and regulations and innovation. These scenarios will assist the organization with planning and visioning for a future where Grain Farmers of Ontario is a leader in research, crop management and product quality to maximize market returns.

I know many of you also spend your time in the combine seat thinking about the future and what change it may bring to your farm and the Ontario industry. We are hoping you will share your thoughts with us in the coming weeks as we reveal a number of working scenarios that have come forward through interviews with various stakeholders. Our goal is, with your help, to narrow these suggested scenarios down to two or possibly three that you believe to be the most likely.

We hope you will take a few moments this fall to review our scenarios online and complete a survey that will reveal the scenario you most identify with. The results will be compiled and presented at January meetings for further discussion and input. We want this process to be as collaborative as possible so the results reflect the opportunities and challenges our membership anticipates in the future. It is how we will be our most effective as an organization.

Please take the time to visit http://take-survey.com/mnp/GFOscenario planning.htm using the password “future” to complete the survey or phone our office (800-265-0550) to request that a copy be mailed to you. We look forward to your input. •

About Barry Senft 62 Articles
CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario