Society needs to recognize that science is essential to agriculture

Posted on November 16, 2015

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by Shayla Hertz

I have been asked to share my perspective, as a current agriculture student, on environmentalism and the importance of science in agriculture. I grew up on a grain farm outside of Edenwold, Saskatchewan and was raised in a community thriving with farmers. When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future because I felt lost in determining what my passions and interests were. It was not until I started encountering people telling me that organic food was healthier than conventionally farmed foods, and that genetically modified organisms were dangerous, that I knew what I cared deeply about. And that is setting out on a path to correct the misconceptions surrounding the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

 

Today’s society is connected to one another more than ever before. People can be informed about anything, instantly, which means they can also be misinformed, one of the largest issues we face in today’s agriculture industry. Despite the fact that there are farmers, scientists, doctors, researchers, professors, government officials, and individuals working around the clock to create the safest, healthiest, and most environmentally conscious agricultural supply system possible, there are people who believe otherwise and for some reason, those voices are the ones that are heard.

 

It is of utmost importance that people become aware of the falsities they have been exposed to as a result of social media and popular belief. People need to begin to recognize the importance of questioning the information they are exposed to and understand how critical it is to conduct their own research. People’s beliefs and opinions can be changed when they put forth the effort to question what they are being encouraged to believe. If we can find a way to translate scientific intelligence and fact into something that can be easily comprehended by the average population, whether they are educated in the area of science or not, we may be able to start correcting some of these misconceptions.

 

Agriculture has become such a successful industry because of the never-quit attitudes of every person associated with innovation within the industry, combined with the ever-increasing focus on environmental stewardship. People also need to remember that agriculture does not just feed you and me, or Canada, or even North America, but it feeds the world. The population of the world is increasing at an exponential rate, which means food production needs to increase at an even faster rate. The importance of science in agriculture cannot be stressed enough – without it, more people will go hungry. Innovations and science in agricultural development are essential to the future of food production; it is imperative for people to be aware of the misconceptions they have been vulnerable to. Science in agriculture is our present and future, and it is time for society to realize this.

 

Shayla Hertz
President, Agriculture Students' Association, University of Saskatchewan