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Canola Trade Disruptions to China
How Manitoba Canola Growers are Representing You
Stimulating, increasing and improving the production and marketing of canola is a part of MCGA’s mandate. Through local initiatives and national partnerships, MCGA has consistently been working on five areas of focus. The recent trade disruption with China has highlighted the need for continued work and extra attention in these key areas:
Providing farmers greater choice and value for their canola is a part of MCGA’s mandate. We’ve been working to increase the demand by asking for an increase to the biodiesel mandate and by investing in research to explore healthy food protein options from canola meal.
Secure Export Markets:
With 90 per cent of canola being exported around the world it is vital to maintain strong export markets. Farmers are actively represented on international trade through our membership and board representation with the Canola Council of Canada and the Canadian Canola Growers Association who are working to re-open China, maintain current markets and expand into new markets.
Protecting Canola’s Reputation:
Canadian farmers have a strong reputation for growing high quality canola. Recent trade disruption has called this into question. Our confidence in farmers and the food they produce remains unchanged. Through the Canola Eat Well program we are working with key food professionals who are showing their support for farmers by reassuring consumers and sharing how canola oil continues to be a quality oil they can be proud to use in their kitchens and restaurants.
Support for Farmers:
Trade disruptions are not new in the agriculture industry. Farmers require strong tools and programs that allow them to continue farming successfully during times of uncertainty. We are working through various partners to improve financial support, share mental health resources and provide production resources covering agronomics, pests, diseases, storage, marketing and more.
Your Farm Voice:
The purpose of a provincial commodity group is to be a unified voice for canola farmers representing their interests at the local, provincial, national and international level. Manitoba Canola Growers are at the table working on the issues and initiatives that affect farmers in this province. It is our top priority farmers’ needs are considered and that they have access to the information they want.
To learn more about the work MCGA is doing in each of these areas listed above visit canolagrowers.com/canola-trade-disruption-to-china.
Talking About Food is Tough
If you find yourself working within Canada’s enormous food system, whether you like it or not, you are a spokesperson for Canadian food. And as a spokesperson, effectively communicating about food, whether your expertise is growing it, producing it, processing it, cooking it or talking about it’s nutritional value, can be tough.
Everyone eats, and as a result, everyone has their own idea about the “correct” way of doing so. Food choices are exceptionally personal and can be entwined with one or many of our value and belief systems. What we eat may be related to culture, religion, geography, career or even the decade in which we were born. In a way, everyone is a food expert.
With this in mind, how do we navigate these differences so that our conversations about food become more productive? Particularly when the topic is one that carries controversy.
These days experts and consumers alike have strong opinions about a multitude of food related topics. From pesticides, to biotechnology, to plant-based eating, it seems more often than not, we’re talking past one another.
For me, years of working as a clinician in healthcare, a counsellor in the community, and as a food communicator through various media channels, has given me an enormous playing field to test my food communication skills. While I continue to make missteps, my professional experience and ongoing research into effective communication have helped me hone my skills and develop a 3 step strategy.
3 Steps to Improved Food Communication
1. Get personal.
Getting personal is about making a connection. Making a small effort to find common ground is a way to disarm.
Finding this connection can be simple. It can be as easy as sharing in small talk about where you live or what foods you both like to eat, or commiserating about Canadian winters.
To find this connection, simply show up being curious. Stow your agenda, even if you think you know what’s coming, and ask questions. Be present. Simply listening and making an effort to learn about what a person believes and values, and who they trust, will give you the framework needed for step 2.
2. Validate and Empathize
“I can see where you’re coming from”,
“I understand what you mean”, This, for many, can be difficult. Particularly if you are knowledgeable or believe strongly in a topic.
By validating, you are not necessarily agreeing with what a person saying, but that their feelings are valid. All feelings are valid, because they’re feelings. Not facts.
Empathizing or showing compassion opens the door for you to share your point of view.
If you are interested in talking part in our 2020 Learn to Lead Event please contact Corina Lepp at email@example.com.
3. Relate your truth, but…
Facts don’t persuade people. People persuade people.
If you decide to take the step and share your knowledge or point of view, it’s important to present it in a way that appeals to their belief system. A convincing argument will depend on engaging a person’s values, not showing them logic.
Recognize that you come with a set of values too. The most effective communicators can change minds and opinions because they are willing to change theirs too.