Discovery Farm staff are agriculture professionals with extensive experience in research that produces practical, unbiased information of real value to western Canadian farmers.
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Rod is the Executive Vice President of Glacier FarmMedia and publisher of The Western Producer. He uses his 30 years of agriculture marketing and sales experience to oversee the strategic planning and long-term vision of Discovery Farm. Developing a large-scale research farm puts Glacier FarmMedia at the forefront of agriculture innovation, which in turn helps companies and producers across the industry. “Our partners can showcase their products in a way that farmers can immediately take home and apply on their farm. The field tests can help companies bring new products to market quickly and with confidence.”
Discovery Farm is committed to independent research and demonstrations. It’s not about simply convincing farmers to adopt new methods or technology, but rather proving to them what can help their bottom line. Rod envisions Discovery Farm as an internationally recognized centre of research excellence where soil health initiatives run alongside automated drone tests. Glacier FarmMedia has an important role in expanding ag knowledge across Canada, he says. “If there is newsworthy applied research, The Western Producer and the rest of our content team can tell farmers about that. If people can’t get to Ag in Motion, we can tell them about the best research we’ve done on Discovery Farm.”
Rod is a graduate from the College of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan and is part of the group that created the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation, which provides scholarships for students pursuing ag education. He says Discovery Farm will help develop the next generation of farmers and researchers. “Partnering with educational institutions will ensure farmers are better served. That could happen by supporting training programs or practical research that helps farmers be successful.”
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Blake is the Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm Director of Research & Demonstration, where he oversees how field trials are designed and implemented. Every growing season presents new challenges and the Discovery Farm is the place to find practical solutions. “I grew up on a farm and I appreciate the real challenges farmers deal with,” Blake says. “At the Discovery Farm we can be very responsive to the prevailing issues farmers are facing. We can address all kinds of questions or practices across the crop production cycle.”
Blake is a Master’s graduate from the College of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan and the Agriculture Research chair at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Blake and his team always have the practical aspects of field trials in mind when conducting research. “When the farmer sees the results and it interests them, we encourage them to validate it on their farm,” Blake says. “Our trails are intentionally conducted at the field-scale using commercial equipment, so that the results are meaningful to producers and practices can be readily implemented.”
For Blake, the Discovery Farm is a place where novel practices or products are validated and results are meant to stimulate agronomic conversations. “We have the ability to absorb a greater amount of risk than the average producer might have,” Blake says. “While using good stewardship practices, farmers want to maximize their return on every acre of land. They don’t always have the ability to experiment on their farm. We have the ability to play around at the Discovery Farm. Farmers can take what we learn and test it out themselves.”
Ag in Motion Sales Manager Dan Kuchma says a basic question drives the partnerships and field work at Discovery Farm. “How will a company’s technology or demonstrations fulfill the needs of producers? Discovery Farm is where we find the answers.” Dan is also the demonstration co-ordinator at the newly expanded research farm. He helps partners from across the ag sector strategize and develop concepts for the field trials and demonstrations at Discovery Farm. “We take what our partners hear at the trade show booths, what people ask about and we test those questions with meaningful trial work.”
Discovery Farm field trials are collaborations—with Ag in Motion or between businesses, with industry associations or academic researchers. Dan’s marketing expertise and research background make him the guy to help bring those partners together at the outdoor laboratory. “We’re not just a three-day event anymore. We’re open 365 days of the year,” Dan says. “It’s a research facility, a training centre and a sales tool.”
Field trials and demonstrations can involve partners at different stages of crop production, from seeding to weed management to harvest. The adaptive and collaborative approach makes Discovery Farm ideal for large-scale demonstrations and field trials, Dan says. “It’s a hands-on opportunity to see products in action in real world scenarios.”
Lynda is the Executive Vice President and Publisher of Glacier FarmMedia and is responsible for business and partnership development at Discovery Farm. “We have partners across the ag sector looking to test and demonstrate new products and methods. Discovery Farm is a place where the industry can come together and collaborate to advance Canadian agriculture.”
Innovation and education is at the core of Discovery Farm. With marketing and advertising expertise honed during almost three decades in agriculture publishing, Lynda knows how partnerships developed for Discovery Farm improves the success of producers and enhance strategic planning for ag companies and educational institutions. “This initiative cuts across the entire ag sector,” Lynda says. “We actually plant on a large scale where farmers can see how it would work on their land. These are real world results. If farmers are going to adopt, you have to demonstrate. Farmers and their success is at the core of what we do.”
Partnering with Glacier FarmMedia ensures the work at Discovery Farm won’t go unnoticed. The initiative not only showcases the latest technology and best practices firsthand producers, it also helps expand the knowledge for producers across Canada. “For us, it draws all of our operations together,” Lynda says. “You see the projects firsthand at Discover Farm, you can read about it through the growing season in our publications, and you can get all the results at the end of it. We’re making the information as widely accessible to Canadian farmers as possible.”