When farmers plant a seed, it becomes many. It is the purest form of wealth creation.
Agriculture’s relationship with seed is in constant evolution. Likewise for the complex issues surrounding its management. Plant breeding and new technologies have vastly improved our ability to influence genetic expressions, which delivers new traits, helps fend off pests and increases productivity.
However, new questions are emerging: Are we doing enough to preserve our genetic resources for the future? How do we pay for our ongoing investment in crop improvements? What role does our crop and land management play protecting our genetic resources?
Seeding the Future explores these questions and many more through stories, podcasts, visual elements and video animations.
The last 20 years have seen a revolution in computing power, data processing and DNA analysis. Curtis Pozniak, who heads the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and his team use DNA markers to unravel the mysteries of plant breeding at a pace that would have made their predecessors’ heads spin… READ MORE
Will scientists one day be able to download and replicate any crop seeds they want from a bank of digitalized DNA patterns on a computer, both preserving and transforming the 12,000-year-old agricultural heritage of humanity? A vision for the future that was once unimaginable is inching closer to reality… READ MORE
They call it the Doomsday Vault, a $9-million tomb carved into the Plataberget Mountains on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Built to withstand a nuclear holocaust, the facility serves as the central bank for more than 1,700 gene banks around the world.
Yet there are no genetically modified seeds protected in the Svalbard vault, even though GM crops account for 78 per cent of the world’s soybean acreage, 30 per cent of its corn and 29 per cent of its rapeseed/canola.
We’ll find out why… READ MORE
His life’s story reads like a spy thriller. Tanks, camels, surreptitious crossings of the Iron Curtain and Middle Eastern borders. And then there were the chickens.
Donald Shaver was the godfather of modern poultry. Shaver built a poultry-breeding empire from a humble start, using two chicks gifted by an aunt. He contained a legendary work ethic, a singular obsession for the chicken business and more than his fair share of grit and determination. He also had an almost religious fervour to improve the chicken’s natural ability to produce protein and feed people the world over, a passion inspired by a teacher early in his life… READ MORE
Agroforestry, a centuries-old practice of integrating wooded areas, shelterbelts, orchard intercropping, and livestock foraging within agriculture is seeing a resurgence worldwide due to its many ecosystem service benefits including food production, nutrient dispersal, cycling and seed dispersals, carbon sequestration, climate, disease and pest regulation, purification of water and air and biological regulation of the planet… READ MORE
It’s not the food commodities such as corn, soybeans and wheat that set Mike Strang’s fields apart from others, it’s his focus on feeding the soil as well as people.
The Exeter, Ont. farmer has embraced a suite of farming practices designed to keep living roots growing in his soil for as much of the year as possible, which is no small feat in northern climes.
Exeter is on the front lines of a movement loosely defined as “regenerative agriculture,” which looks beyond the short-term returns to protecting the soil and water resources underpinning food production… READ MORE
When Stefan Bouw and his family established their purebred Angus herd, they learned quickly that very specific genetics were needed for the program they had in mind.
Bouw, his brother Jonathan, their father Herman and their families run Edie Creek Angus, a 100-per cent grass-based seedstock operation, at Anola, Manitoba. Early on, they purchased purebred females regardless of the original herd’s production system, which they soon realized didn’t serve their own program.
“They looked really good, they were fed really well on a high energy, feed bunk ration, and then they came to our place and we didn’t feed them any grain, and they didn’t do well,” Bouw recalled. “They were too tall, didn’t have enough rumen capacity and had not been required to turn low quality forages into beef.”… READ MORE
Markets demand consistency, yet genetic diversity is key to how ranchers adapt their herds to unique environments and management.
It’s long been joked that if you want to ignite war in cattle country, start a conversation about which cattle breed is best. While other livestock sectors such as poultry and pork have moved to controlled production environments and a narrow gene pool to consistently produce the type and quality of meat sought by processors and consumers, the beef sector remains divided among multiple breeds and production practices on the wide-open range… READ MORE
Lisa Guenther, Kristy Nudds
Locked Out of the Vault
Shelter Belts (Agroforestry: the Unsung Matchmaker for Agricultural Biodiversity)
The Wheat Genome: A Scientific Revolution
Robert Arnason, Ralph Pearce
Beyond the Flatlands
Farmers’ Saving Grace
Paul Yanko, Dave Bedard
Geralyn Witchers, Robin Booker
The Extraordinary Life and Death of Vavilov
Global Need Local Threats
Melitochuk’s Digital Dreams
Exclusive Interview with Gene Hackman
Traits and Techniques: How the search for genetic…
Moving from Simplistic Solutions…
Gord Gilmour, John Greig
Fast Track Designer Genes
Canada’s Seed Hoarders
Against the Grains Farm
The Grass at Edie Creek
To Bee or Not to… the Role of Shelterbelts in Preserving Pollinators