Ryan Mercer, Farming Smarter Board President, sits on the board because he wants the organization to thrive.
Part of that is a legacy from his father, Lloyd Mercer, who sat on the Southern Alberta Conservation Association (SACA) board.
"My dad was involved, so it's generational," chuckles Ryan.
He is now co-owner and president of Mercer Seeds Ltd. and sees direct value from a strong, local source of information for his farm. His interest lies in the unbiased, third party information coming from replicated small plot work and field scale work. He says he doesn't have the time or the equipment to do all those different trials on his farm.
"It saves, and makes, me a lot of money because the information is so practical."
That's why he accepted an invitation to join the board and then take the role as Board President.
"I believe in this organization and feel strongly about contributing in my own backyard. It's second to none and the best in the province, if not the country, in terms of applied research. I feel so strongly about the quality work Farming Smarter does that I will contribute in any small way I can," he says.
He's also determined to get Farming Smarter through the current changes taking place in Alberta regarding agricultural research pertinent to farmers.
""So much is in flux right now with the government changes to agriculture research. We'll know better in three years when we can see where the falling chips land," he says.
He holds a vision of a strong and vibrant organization with good partnerships.
"I want ties with other research associations, crop commissions and post-secondary institutions such as the one we have with Lethbridge College," he says. He also plans to continue the intergenerational tradition. He brought his son, 15-year-old James, to Farming Smarter's Open Farm Day 2020. They sat in the Ask a Farmer booth and answered questions posed by urban residents.
Ryan says, "He enjoyed that."