Manitoba celebrates 11th annual agriculture awareness day

Manitoba’s farmers and food processors are using new and sometimes unexpected technologies in their businesses to create opportunities for sustainable growth, which Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn highlighted at the 11th annual Agriculture Awareness Day on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.

“Manitoba’s agriculture sector is soaring to new heights, which is the theme of today’s celebration,” said Minister Kostyshyn. “We are highlighting the creativity, innovation and adaptability of our province’s farmers, food processors and many others who are turning ideas into opportunities.”

Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, located in Portage la Prairie, uses a new processing technique to transform fresh Manitoba-grown produce into healthy, preservative-free purees that are sold to consumers and other food processors. As recent winners of the Manitoba Food Processors Association’s Manitoba TASTE Award for best new product, CEO Kelly Beaulieu spoke about what it takes to turn an innovative idea into a successful business.

“Bringing innovation from concept to a commercial world-class business is tremendously hard work but we have had some wonderful people who got behind our dream and helped us achieve it,” said Beaulieu. “We have had the critical supports we needed, including advice, seed funding and encouragement, to achieve success. Our company is achieving international recognition, which is proof Manitoba can compete in the global business arena.”

Three Manitoba chefs participated in a friendly competition at today’s event to create a new dessert using at least one of these purees. The participating chefs were Justin Bohemier, Brad Gray and MJ Feeke, who was represented by Natasha Hudek and Amirah Mansilla.

An aerial drone was also on display during the event to highlight how this technology can be used on Manitoba farms. Drones can give farmers a birds-eye view of field conditions, crop development and their livestock herds.

“Whether it’s auto-steer and GPS guidance that help us farm more efficiently, or new monitoring technology like drones that give us real-time data about our crops, farmers are always eager to adopt new technology and innovative practices to benefit our operations,” said Dan Mazier, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers. “We also know that a strong food-processing industry in Manitoba is an important market for our crops, fruits and vegetables, and livestock. Farmers love to see companies like Canadian Prairie Garden Purees finding success through innovation.”

The minister noted there are many opportunities throughout the year to learn more about agriculture and connect with farmers. Host farms are currently being recruited for Open Farm Day, an annual event which will take place on Sunday, Sept. 20. More information will be posted at http://www.openfarmday.ca in the coming months.

In 2005, a unanimous all-party resolution was passed by the legislative assembly to create an annual Agriculture Awareness Day to promote greater awareness of the contributions agriculture makes to this province and the important role the agriculture industry plays as a key driver of the Manitoba economy. Last year, the Manitoba government also introduced legislation to formalize the recognition of Agriculture Awareness Day as part of the Farm and Food Awareness Act.

For more information on Manitoba’s agricultural programs and services, follow the Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/MBGovAg. For more information about Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, visit http://www.canadianprairiegarden.com.

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