Innovation is key to advancing agriculture, but for many farmers, technology adoption can also feel risky. Talking to other producers about their experiences is important. 

A partnership with Affinity Credit Union, Ag-West Bio and the Global Agri-food Advancement Partnership (GAAP) the 2023 Sprouting Success Series was hosted in four different communities around the province and brought together more than 300 farmers, business owners, industry innovators, and technology adopters. It was an opportunity to discuss real farm challenges, talk about ground-breaking solutions and collaborate to reduce barriers to adopting innovation. 

“The energy and participation from our audience at Sprouting Success was truly remarkable. Saskatchewan’s producers arrived eager, and armed with insightful questions that led to exciting discussions on innovative technologies and novel farming practices,” said Amy Carruthers, Program Development Manager with AgWest Bio. 

The inaugural event at the Western Canadian Crop Production Show in Saskatoon set the stage, with discussions on innovation through the generations. Two well-established Saskatchewan farm families (Delage Farms from Indian Head and the Burns family from Windy Poplars) spoke about the complexities of embracing new technology when decision-makers span generations.  

In the spring, we headed to Harvest Eatery in Shaunavon. The event focused on innovation in progressive practices. Panelists explored a spectrum of new products and strategies tailored to navigate the challenges of farming in a changing climate, particularly amidst the adversities of southern Saskatchewan’s arid climate.  

“As we all know, with the agriculture industry, change is always constant. The focus on agricultural innovation in Saskatchewan and beyond feels especially pertinent, and Affinity was excited to play a part in this important series for our agriculture members and other farmers in the province,” said Nolan Murray, Agriculture Manager at Affinity Credit Union.  

The third event, at Ag in Motion in Langham, was hosted  by Shaun Haney of RealAgriculture and featured Dr. Tom Wolf (the Nozzle Guy Sprayers 101). Wolf discussed the evolution of spray technology in over the last 25 years, the opportunity (and reality) of AI in spraying, international spraying innovations, tools to help producers to stay ahead of resistance, and the accelerated rate of change in agriculture.  

The final event, held in Regina during Canadian Western Agribition in November, featured cattle farmers John and Deanne Chuiko, who spoke about their decision to trial Vence (a new virtual fencing technology) on their operation in northwest Saskatchewan. The Chuikos spoke about their technology trial and adoption process, how they track range health, and financial considerations when adopting new technologies.

Deanne Chuiko stated, “we enjoyed speaking at Sprouting Success as the audience was a more diverse group than we had presented to in the past. They were very engaged, which enabled us to expand our network and make many new connections.” 

Ultimately, the essence of the series lies in its mission to spotlight the array of available innovations for Saskatchewan producers, while providing guidance to those cautiously contemplating novel approaches. Sprouting Success has served as a dynamic platform, fostering open dialogue among producers, by inviting them to share their farm experiences and programs.

Photo credit: Ag-West Bio

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