George Lubberts, Farming Smarter vice president, is another organizational long hauler dating back to the Southern Applied Research Association and taking part in the formation of Farming Smarter in 2012. He describes himself as a bit of a board junky and sits on the boards of Canadian Foodgrains Bank and World Renew.
George likes a board governed by policy. He therefore appreciates the work of Art Bird in the early years who lead the development of Farming Smarter's policy manual ≥ a project George brought his Carver Governance expertise to while working on the manual with Art.
He sees Farming Smarter as a valuable conduit for information from research to broad acre farms, which he describes as economically sustainable and that help feed the world.
"Those farmers are the ones Farming Smarter needs to touch whether that's through agronomists, extension tools or their direct involvement." He points out that Alberta Agriculture isn't working in extension now and products coming on to the market have less stringent licensing research requirements.
"I like the three Rs - independent Research, local Results & Return to the grower. We need somebody to provide that."
George remembers a time when researchers from Alberta to Africa expressed frustration at not having a channel to share what they learned with farmers. "If that conduit isn't there, farmers don't get the value out of research. When they don't see the value, they don't care when Alberta Agriculture quits doing research."
He says now it's up to Farming Smarter's board to find a way to fund extension and keep the conduit open for farmers in Alberta and western Canada.