Women farmers reveal how they have succeeded in agriculture, and how other women can too
By Brenda Schoepp, Country Guide
Country Guide asked for more on how we define a culture that is inclusive, equal and conducive for a successful female heir or independent business person from within a family unit.
In this first part of a three-part series, I went across Canada and asked trailblazers — highly successful women in farming, agriculture and agri-business — about their journeys starting from the time they were girls.
They pursued their dreams despite having very diverse back stories. Still, we need to recognize that the on-farm cultures they grew up in were extraordinarily different, and those differences helped determine the pathways they chose to get to where they are today. Read more
By Joanna Folings, Cereal Specialist
How should one deal with large bare spots in a wheat field that is otherwise in good condition? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all solution because the size and number of bare spots in fields greatly varies. Here are some options and considerations for filling in those bare spots.
Leave the bare spots alone
While doing nothing with the bare spots may seem like the easiest option, it may create headaches later on. The biggest implication is weeds. If you decide to leave the bare spots alone, at minimum you should consider a herbicide application to those areas to keep weeds under control. Glyphosate resistant Canada fleabane can produce up to one million seeds per plant, so even one Read more
First to pass rigorous 37 standards set by the program.
The voluntary program certifies nutrient service providers in the Western Lake Erie Basin and across Ontario that apply or make recommendations on fertilizers in accordance with 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles – which refers to using the Right Source of nutrients at the Right Rate, at the Right Time and in the Right Place.
On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Thompsons Limited successfully passed Fertilizer Canada’s 4R retailer certification audit, and doing so, the Company becomes the first retail site in Canada to achieve this status.
The company thanks the hard work from all staff at Thompsons Kent Bridge branch, and Colin Elgie, Thompsons Agronomy Solutions Specialist who headed up the effort and for making this important commitment to the sustainability of farming and the environment, our customers and future generations.
The photo in this article is of the Forks of the Thames River at Tecumseh Park in Chatham–its junction with McGregor Creek. The McGregor Creek watershed starts on the ridge near Highgate and includes 54,000 total acres and 48,000 acres of Chatham-Kent farmland.
The McGregor Creek water is extremely muddy, even compared to the water in the Thames River.
Robert Richardson once farmed next door to the farm where I live today. His daughter Shirley tells of a family outing about 100 years ago on a three-deck excursion boat, from Tecumseh Park, down the Thames River to Detroit. Young Robert could look down into the clear water to see fish and the bottom of the river. The water in the river wasn’t always so murky. Read more
Should you raise daughters differently to succeed at farming? This mother, daughter and granddaughter know their answer
No matter how progressive we think agriculture is becoming for ourselves, for our wives and for our daughters, there’s still a prevalent attitude that farming is “men’s work.”
Now a new ethos is gaining ground, and anyone who subscribes to the men’s-work way of thinking is being asked — well, ordered really — to get over themselves.
Farming excellence, we’re told, is no longer predicated on the farmer’s muscle strength. Instead, success takes multi-tasking, management, problem solving — areas where women excel at least as often as men.
With the demands ahead, our industry’s priority should be attracting the best and brightest of the next generation, regardless of gender. How can we do that? To find out, Country Guide sent me to talk to the experts: three generations of women from one farm family, all of whom identify solidly as “farmer.” Here is what I learned. — M.B.
Bev Shewchuk can pinpoint the exact moment she realized she’d had enough of not being taken seriously as a farmer. She and husband, Brad, had gone into the local bank to talk financing. Even though she carried the majority of the farm management including all of the day-to-day operating of the farm while he worked away, she waited until he was home from the oil field to make the trip into town since they always did the major farm decision-making together.
When the financing officer handed the couple their completed paperwork, Brad’s occupation was described as “farmer.”
Shewchuk, despite the fact that the couple had clearly described the partnership of their operation, was listed as “housewife.”
“Even though I was 100 per cent engrossed in the farm,” she says, “and even though I made all the decisions with the cattle and sheep, and even though I did every bit of the work when Brad was away, I was still a farmer’s wife even in my own mind until that moment.
“That was my turning point, the moment when I really changed my attitude about my own role on the farm.” Read more
Not maintaining three points of contact when climbing ladders can lead to injuries. Three points of contact is defined as always having one foot and two hands, or one hand and two feet in contact with the ladder at all times.
While maintaining three points of contact is important, maintaining three points of control is critical. Three points of control involves a worker using three of their four limbs for reliable, stable support while climbing a ladder.
Climbing a ladder with a tool in your hands can maintain contact with the ladder but not a firm grip (control) on the ladder rung. Communicate and practice three-point control. It provides for a greater level of safety when climbing ladders.
Other ladder-related best practices include:
- Inspecting the ladder prior to climbing.
- Facing the ladder at all times.
- Hoisting tools rather than carrying them.
- Keeping the belt buckle between the rails of the ladder.
Safety first in everything you do – on and off the farm.
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS:
Get proper rest. Look after yourself. Slow down. Never take shortcuts.
Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™
Take a moment today to think about electrical hazards and how you can make your operation safe for you, your family, workers and visitors.
There are several things you can do at home, in the barn, and workshops to help eliminate the chances of shocks, electrocution and fires.
Missing covers on junction boxes, switches and outlets expose energized circuits, creating arc flash, shock, and electrocution hazards. In addition, missing covers provide a path of entry into the interior of the enclosure, allowing dust, dirt, and debris to accumulate. Missing covers could allow metallic objects to fall into the circuits that could arc or lodge in a way that presents a hazard when the enclosure is opened.
Broken/unsupported light fixtures
Light fixtures should be permanently mounted to the base and show no signs of damage. Light fixtures that are hanging unsupported by wiring, puts undue stress on the electrical connections. These two conditions present the potential for an electrical short, which can produce sparks that can ignite combustibles leading to a fire.
All electrical breaker panels should be equipped with an appropriate cover and remain closed. Missing covers expose the circuits to dust and physical damage. If an arc or short circuit would occur, the cover will contain the sparks from igniting surrounding combustibles.
There should not be any missing breakers or other openings between breakers. These openings allow for the potential for electrocution, physical damage, and dust and dirt to accumulate in the circuits. Spare clips should be installed in any openings in the breaker panel.
Breakers must never be taped or physically secured in the “ON” position. If the breaker is not allowed to trip, or cannot be manually tripped, the wiring could overheat, increasing the chances of a fire.
The electrical panel should be indexed, identifying each individual circuit breaker.
Electrical equipment can and does fail, often catastrophically, with arcing that produces large amounts of heat. Any combustible material in the vicinity of the arc flash can be ignited.
Access to electrical rooms should be limited to authorized maintenance or operations personnel that understand the importance of maintaining a clean, well-ventilated electrical area.
Electrical equipment areas should be kept dry and equipment needs to be protected from moisture. When evidence of moisture contamination is noted, equipment should be examined for damage and necessary repairs made. The source of the moisture needs to be identified and eliminated.
Electrical equipment areas should be clean and protected from dust and dirt. Placing storage items too close to electrical panels or near electrical equipment will restrict air circulation and impede proper cooling. Excessive heat buildup will result in premature failure and shortened service life.
Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™
™ is a trademark of Thompsons Limited.
Let’s look at walking outside when it’s cold and snowy or icy.
Here are some winter safety tips to help prevent slips and falls:
- Plan ahead and give yourself sufficient time.
- When walking on steps, always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
- Bending your knees a little and taking slower and shorter steps increases traction and can greatly reduce your chances of falling.
- Streets and sidewalks that have been cleared of snow and ice should still be approached with caution. Look out for “black ice.” Dew, fog or water vapour can freeze on cold surfaces and form an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
- Carrying heavy items can challenge your sense of balance. Try not to carry too much–you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
- Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall. If you fall backwards, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head doesn’t strike the ground with a full force.
- When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery–walk carefully.
- Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles–use the vehicle for support.
Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™
™ is a registered trademark of Thompsons Limited.
To be leaders in the food and agribusiness sector through sustainability, integrity, relationships, employee engagement, profitability and innovation.
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