Rob Stone

What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Rob Stone explains:

Why did you want to be a farmer?

I always said I wanted to be a farmer, ever since the day I could talk.  From a young age, I rode with my dad in the tractor, grain truck or combine and spent countless hours in the shop or  yard. I farmed on the carpet in the winter and in the sand pile in summer.  I grew up loving it and marveling at the idea of putting a seed in the ground and watching it grow.  I loved having my own spot in the garden to make things grow.  I just wanted to be a farmer because that’s what my dad does.  That passion has not changed.

What crops do you grow?

We grow canola, soybeans lentils, spring wheat, winter wheat and malt barley.  We are dabbling in grain corn and have grown durum, canary seed, chickpeas, green and yellow peas in the past.

What impact do pests and disease have on your crops?

Our crops are under constant attack from diseases such as sclerotinia, fusarium, aschochyta, tan spot, net blotch and many seedling diseases. Pests like wheat midge, cabbage seedpod weevil, army worms, diamond backs, grasshoppers, cut worms and flea beetles need to be constantly monitored.  We have had cutworm infestations wipe out many acres of canola in very little time. The seedlings were destroyed and left a very thin crop and the weed mess was very low yielding.

In general, how important is it to have access to crop protection products?

Crop protection products are essential in harnessing the potential an acre of ground represents. Efficient and environmentally responsible practices include the use of crop protection products to decrease carbon foot print per unit produced and keep the cost of production, allowing producers to both stay in business and provide an abundant food supply.

Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?

Farmers are where it all starts.  It’s a long journey from the seed to the grocery store shelf and a lot of talent is required in the value chain to make it happen. Farming has always been an innovative profession.  It’s that innovative spirit that will continue to increase efficiency and production while decreasing any environmental impacts.

What inspires you about your job?

I am inspired by a challenge. For past generations, the challenge was day to day survival, to keep the farm going and keep the family fed. Thankfully our challenge is different. We need to navigate complex markets, increasing consumer scrutiny and endless choices when it comes to implementing new genetics, equipment and technology. I accept these challenges head on and that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.  That and watching the seeds grow just like I did when I was four years old.