What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Jay Schultz explains
Why did you want to be a farmer?
Find a job you love and you’ll never work again. I feel very blessed as I’ve truly found an industry I’m so passionate about. I became a farmer because I love a challenge and also working with family. I love having the freedom to be able to put research and theories into motion to find out what works on our farm.
What crops do you grow?
Our farm currently grows hard red spring wheat used in baking pan breads, yellow peas and canola. We are always looking for other crops that could complement our farming systems.
What impact do pests and disease have on your crops?
When you grow a crop you start with 100% yield potential. Every day that potential is lost due to many different factors. Pests and diseases can have a huge impact on yield in a very short amount of time. I recall one year we had a leaf disease called rust which decimated an entire wheat field. This disease moved in with prevailing winds and happened to infect a variety of wheat because of its lack of genetic resistance. I recall during harvest that our combine, which was red, became orange due to rust spores being shaken off the wheat plants. In this case we lost yield and grade due to the leaf disease. Rust is not a yearly concern, but with choosing varieties that are genetically resistant coupled with a fungicide, if conditions call for it, a disease such as rust can be managed.
In general, how important is it to have access to crop protection products?
Our farm likes to focus on systems that can compliment one another to grow high quality, healthy, profitable crops. Crop protection products are extremely important to achieve this. Sometimes we can solve agronomic issues with crop genetics or rotations, but crop protection products really help fill the gaps for best management strategies.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
Food is a basic need. Everyone needs to eat consistently no matter race, religion or status. It’s a key part of our social interactions, a part of our culture passed down through generations. Populations are growing and standards of living are increasing, thus increasing demand for higher quality and variety of foods. I’m proud to be a part of an industry that is meeting this basic need.
What inspires you about your job?
I find so many inspirations in agriculture. There are so many great individuals in the industry always striving to be better. Building on efforts of previous generations to be better stewards of the land focusing on soil health and sustainability for the next generation. When you are around passionate people trying to create more with using less its contagious and inspiring.
Jay is a fourth generation mixed farmer from Wheatland county, Alberta, Canada.