That's our new mission statement in Farming Smarter's new 5-year strategic plan. Hang on! I heard that groan; saw that eye drift onto something, anything else. Why oh why, does anyone write a strategic plan? And, more to the point, why would anyone read one?
We wrote a new plan because we and our working environment changed a lot in the past five years. Change is the only thing guaranteed in life. Everything is up for change crop varieties, novel crops; agronomic practices; nutrition; pest control; equipment and robotics. How are you going to know which changes will work on your farm?
We're going to try it first and tell you! To make sure we're here for you, we have to follow a plan so we don't forget important tasks that keep Farming Smarter healthy as an organization. So we write strategic plans and follow them as much as is wise.
Farming Smarter is now an organization that has eight full time, year round staff and hires up to nine full time students and interns over the summer months. Five years ago, we had 65 projects on the go. This year we had 100. We're working with scientists across the prairies from post-secondary institutions, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry and crop commissions. We also have our own research program informed by southern Alberta farmers.
We commit substantial resources to sharing what we learn with the people that put the science to work in the fields ≥ farmers, farm managers and agronomists working in Alberta. We have an information heavy website, we produce magazine, e-newsletters, videos and, soon, podcasts. We hold events for both urban and farming public. Also, in recent years, we dedicate resources to agricultural advocacy at the provincial level.
Our advocacy role snuck up on us as our funding environment changed. Research funding for projects is fairly well laid out. While it's not a perfect system, it is at least a system. But all the resources to share what we learn are in question every year. Funders come and go and we're never sure how much we will be able to do in any given year when it comes to website, events and other information sharing.
So, we write plans and set targets. Here are our five targets for the next five years.
Build a stable and growing resource base for Farming Smarter
Enhance the recognized value of Farming Smarter
Deliver relevant and applicable research to southern Alberta farmers
Field tested is a viable program to evaluate technology, practices and products
Be southern Alberta's leading agronomy network for knowledge and training
How are we going to meet these goals? Read the plan for those answers.
You will find it on the About Us page of our website.
Read it so you understand where we fit into southern Alberta's success and the contributions we intend to make.
Read it to understand how you can help us overcome southern Alberta's crop challenges.
Read it because you can help us reach these targets that will benefit southern Alberta crop farmers.
Read it because if you took part in our survey, you took part in writing this plan.
This plan comes from any dedicated hours by our board of Directors and our staff. We will continue to bring relevant, unbiased information to you in a click, a Learning Adventure or conference. Join us; we have a lot of fun!