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Les premiers seize pour cent - EP 001

Les premiers seize pour cent est la nouvelle série de balados d’Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada qui explore les idées les plus fraîches en alimentation et en agriculture. À chaque épisode, découvrez en profondeur un nouveau sujet : les nouvelles pratiques, les idées innovantes et leurs impacts sur l'industrie. Apprenez-en davantage sur le secteur agricole canadien auprès des gens qui font les percées et abattent les barrières! Producteurs et gourmets, scientifiques et hauts dirigeants, toute personne ayant un œil sur l'avenir du secteur, ce balados est pour vous! Nouveaux épisodes toutes les deux semaines.

Épisode 001 - Producteurs, innovateurs! Et comment les bonnes idées se propagent

Entrevue avec Julie Dawson, spécialiste du bovin à Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada et agricultrice de sixième génération. Écoutez cette discussion fascinante sur l'ampleur et la vitesse des changements en agriculture.

Transcript

Kirk: Bienvenue à l’épisode " Double Zero" de notre nouvelle série de balado, Les Premiers 16%. Je suis votre coanimateur Kirk Finken.

Sara: Je suis votre autre co-animatrice, Sara Boivin-Chabot.

Kirk: Nous serons bientôt vos fonctionnaires fédéraux préférés. Nous vous servirons votre dose d'inspiration et de connaissances sur l'agriculture et l'alimentation.

Sara: Nous travaillons avec Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada. Dans cette série de podcasts, nous interviewerons des scientifiques, des innovateurs et des agents de changement dans notre secteur.

Aujourd'hui, on parle de diffusion de l’innovation.

Kirk: Et nous avons une excellente entrevue avec une agricultrice de sixième génération qui est aussi fonctionnaire. Elle partagera avec vous la dynamique de l'innovation dans sa ferme familiale.

Sara: Mais avant de nous lancer, allons-nous répondre à cette question brûlante que tout le monde nous pose?

Kirk: Oh, oui, le mystère. Tout le monde veut que nous vous expliquions Les Premiers 16%.

Sara: C’est la question qu’on se fait poser le plus souvent, c’est un peu étrange

Kirk: D'accord. C’est un peu obscur. Ça vient de ce type nommé Everett Rogers. C’est un sociologue américain du 20e siècle qui a étudié comment les innovations se propageaient d'une ferme à l'autre. Il a proposé une théorie de la diffusion de l'innovation qui est aujourd'hui utilisée dans les affaires et les communications. Et elle a ses racines dans l'agriculture.

Sara: Il a utilisé ses données pour diviser les agriculteurs en cinq catégories distinctes de personnes: les innovateurs, les premiers adoptants, la majorité précoce, la majorité tardive et les retardataires. Si vous additionnez les deux premières catégories - les innovateurs et les premiers adoptants.

Kirk: Ensemble, ils totalisent les 16% en tête de vague, les premiers seize%. Cette série est sur eux et pour eux. Et c'est aussi pour les gens de la qui entrent dans la majorité précoce.

Sara: C’est pour toutes les personnes qui aiment le se garder à, qui aiment les nouvelles idées, qui aiment l'agriculture et la nourriture. Si vous vous comptez dans ceux-ci, vous allez adorer cette série.

Kirk: Totalement. Assurez-vous de vous abonner.

Sara: Alors, on commence. Aujourd’hui on parle de diffusion de l'innovation, ou du transfert de connaissances, en action. C’est comme ça que les technologies et les idées se propagent, que les producteurs intelligents et créatifs continuent de changer notre monde. J'adore ce sujet.

Kirk: Je sais! C’est comme un cours intensif sur l’histoire et l’évolution de l’humanité. C'est la vraie histoire, l'histoire originale du développement humain!

Sara: T’exagère pas un peu?

Kirk: Non. Non. C'est un truc profond.

Sara: Profond hein? Tiens ta pelle. Je vais te laisser creuser.

Kirk: On peut affirmer que l'agriculture était l'innovation originale, d'accord. Ça a commencé il y a environ 15 000 ans. Les gens ont eu la brillante idée de planter des graines et de s'en occuper. Ils ont domestiqué les animaux et les ont soignés. Et d'autres autour d'eux ont vu ce qui se passait et ont fait de même.

Sara: Donc, selon ce que tu dis la diffusion de l'innovation a commencé il y a longtemps.

Kirk: Vraiment longtemps! Et ça commencer dans différentes parties du monde, presqu’en même temps. En Afrique, au Moyen-Orient, en Asie et dans les Amériques. Ils ont cultivé les graines. Les plantes ont poussé. Grains, fruits, légumes. Et badabing, moins de calories dépensées pour plus de calories gagnées – on obtient abondance et efficacité! Innovation, bébé!

Sara: Ils avaient plus de nourriture, plus d'énergie, plus de temps. Et cela leur a donné plus de temps pour les mathématiques, la narration, l'art, la musique et la danse. Je vois comment ça a tourné : alors on danse! Et tu sais ce qui se passe dans une soirée dansante, non?

Kirk: Des trucs amusants. Et les gens se mettent à parler. Ils partagent des idées et…

Sara:… ils le disent à deux amis. Qui le disent à deux amis. Et voila!

Kirk: Exactement! Diffusion de l'innovation. Tout le monde s'est lancé dans cette nouvelle chose fantastique appelée agriculture parce qu'ils sont allés au bal et ont partagé leurs idées.

Sara: Et ils ont partagé un verre ou deux. Tsé, l'alcool. Parce que ça aussi c’est une innovation agroalimentaire!

Kirk: Mais pas trop. Ils ont dû se lever tôt le lendemain pour se mettre derrière le bœuf et la charrue.

Sara: Avec les animaux domestiques. Nous avons une symbiose. Nous avons eu du fumier et des rendements accrus. Et nous avons eu plus de soirées dansantes.

Kirk: Euh hein. Alors, c’est ainsi que tout a commencé.

Sara: Et aujourd'hui?

Kirk: Eh bien, même fumier, époque différente. Environ 15 mille ans de diffusion de l'innovation plus tard. Et aujourd'hui, nous parlons avec la descendante moderne de ces agriculteurs d'origine.

Sara: Mais elle est très différente…

Kirk: Oui et non. Elle porte de plus beaux vêtements. Elle a une plus grande ferme. Sa technologie est beaucoup plus sophistiquée. Mais, j'ose dire que sa passion est la même que ces semeurs de céréales et éleveurs de bétail originaux.

Julie: Hi, I'm Julie Dawson and you're listening to The First Sixteen.

Kirk: Julie Dawson est une spécialiste du secteur bovin ici à Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada.

Sara: En plus, elle et son mari, Andrew, possèdent et exploitent River Run Farms, qui est située juste à l'extérieur d'Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Leur ferme appartient à sa famille à elle depuis six générations.

Julie: We currently farm with my two children – our son and our daughter -- and we run about 800 acres of crops and then also have a beef cow operation. And so, market retail the beef right through from birth right through to finish of those beef animals. And so, we also have interaction with the consuming public.

Sara: Wow. C'est une femme occupée, et une famille aussi.

Kirk: Et les connaissances qu’elle a sur l’agriculture et l’innovation - au niveau de la ferme, régional, national et international… Disons simplement qu’elle est un joyau de fonctionnaire et qu’elle possède une connaissance approfondie de ce secteur.
[Segue]

Julie Dawson: My grandparents, they were really in a different phase of agriculture than my husband and I are. They were all about survival. They were about providing food for their family, trying to clear land... it was subsistence farming is really what it was. And now we've transitioned to a business of farming. And so, it's really about driving a profit, driving efficiency, and part of that is how can we use innovation to drive that efficiency.

I think that's where the biggest transition was from my grandparents to where we are now. My parents were very much employed off the farm, and really again, just trying to keep the farm going. And we've transitioned to my husband being on the farm full time.

So, he's really invested in the farm operation and that being things like attending courses. So, today he's attending a crop conference. That's really to enhance his knowledge of things that we can do to increase yields, reduce some of our compaction, things like that on the farm.

Kirk: As-tu entendu ça?

Sara: Cela ressemblait à une belle image d'une ferme familiale.

Kirk: Ouais, mais décomposons-le. Parce que dans ce court instant, Julie nous a illustré que la diffusion de l'innovation dans l'agriculture se fait de quatre manières…entre les générations, entre les modèles économiques, avec des influenceurs extérieurs, et, enfin, avec les techniques et outils eux-mêmes.

Sara: C'est complexe. Peut-être que t’exagérais pas.

Kirk: Je n'exagère jamais.

Sara: C'est de la socio-économie, de la biologie, de la psychologie, de l’agronomie, de l'ingénierie, de l'anthropologie, des affaires, de l'histoire sociale, tout en même temps.

Kirk: Et tout se passe autour de l'agriculture et de l'alimentation.

Juilie: My grandfather was of the generation where he was using horses and horse-drawn equipment. The first tractor came onto the farm and he was driving the tractor, and when he approached a fence line, in that particular instance normally horses would turn, and he approached the fence line on the tractor and was yelling whoa, whoa, and had a bit of a crash, because of that.

So, that's that transition that we think is something easy, but really, it's over generations. And certainly, we see innovation, and probably more so in our generation, where things are moving so rapidly with respect to technology. We’re adapting our farm business to technologies that are out there. So, that's a very different way of thinking.

For example, we will very likely see autonomous tractors in my lifetime. Currently they're available in large scale operations, but we will very likely see that. So, it's a mind shift into how to look at technologies; how can it benefit you, as opposed to being afraid of what it might be.

Currently on our operation we're managing things in larger sections of land, but we're managing them at a very micro level. So, we're looking at things from using satellites; using imagery that's right back into the farm vehicle or the tractor itself to help us grow better crops and increase yields. So, it's having that big view, but also having a very, very small management-size view as well.

So, yeah, we see innovation in everything that we do, from things like using social media to tell others what we might be doing, or to look at what others are doing. We use other pieces that are involved in our daily lives, from gathering information from conferences. We don't read the newspaper very much anymore, which is something that my father and grandfather did do. So, we're getting information in very different ways, and very rapid sources.

Kirk (à Julie): Mais qu'en est-il au niveau communautaire? C’est encore le tissu du Canada rural - l’échange d’informations au niveau local, à la coop, aux encans. Non?

Julie: Communities and rural communities to this day are still very much built on neighbours and talking and communication in personal ways. And while we rely on that to a small extent, we also are very much reliant on people that we don't know. People that are not in our immediate community. People that might be on the other side of the country; might be in another country, and so we're communicating with them to understand what worked for their operation. So, I think our map just became that much larger of our community, and that's the main difference from my, say, grandparents’ time.

Kirk: Et quel était le cycle d'innovation pour vos grands-parents? Était-ce chaque décennie? Et comment est-ce comparé au cycle d'innovation que vous et Andrew vivez?

Dawson: I think a change for them might have been something like using a tractor or mechanized equipment. For them, that might have been the only change that they saw in their farming career, whereas ourselves we may see changes every year or two. Every growing season we're trying something new, and so those all build up to having a very complex farming operation. And so, that's just again very different from how they may have just taken a small risk and taken on that piece of equipment or -- because that generally tended to be what it was in their time -- and so, we're maybe making changes every year, every growing season.

AAC: Est-ce excitant ou est-ce effrayant?

Dawson: It's both. Yeah, it is exciting, because I think the world offers a very great array of technology and I think we're just on the very cusp of it in agriculture. You know, and I think there's huge opportunity there providing for that, but it's also risky because sometimes it might be technology that's used in another sector or another avenue, and so it might be newly applied in agriculture. However, it's almost endless possibilities. And so, I'm encouraging our children, which our son is 16 and our daughter is 14, I'm encouraging them to really keep their eyes open about the opportunities that agriculture offers, because it's really not about the farming of my grandparents or my parents, it's a very different world of farming and all the opportunities that it provides.

Kirk: Alors, comment évaluez-vous les nouvelles innovations? Qui a de l’influence dans ce monde différent?

Dawson: Yeah, good question, and certainly I think it's evaluating with a recognition that it may not be exactly the same in Canada; if we’re looking at another country, for example. I know there's a lot of large farms in the southern United States, for example. And so, through social media again, it's almost an awareness of what's going on, and maybe a twigging of something in your mind that might be interesting to think about to try, and then you keep your options open, so that if that technology or something comes to Canada, you think, oh yes, okay, I'm aware of that. I heard of that.

So, I think it's about evaluating it very carefully, but also an awareness of, again some of those things that might be coming, may not be in Canada, may not be available this year or next year, but it might be on the horizon. So, certainly, yes, a cautious optimism, I think, is how I would term it.

Kirk: Pouvez-vous me donner peut-être quelques exemples de nouvelles choses qui sont entrées dans votre pratique à la ferme au cours des dernières années?

Dawson: AAFC: Yeah, so, one of them is when we spread fertilizer -- and so that's really to assist in plant growth and to help with the soil microbes and the soil environment -- what we used to do is we would simply analyse what was required in that field and then spread the fertilizer across the whole field. Now we use what's called zone mapping. So, we have specific zones in the field where it might be really low in potassium, for example. So, we will simply put that into our mapping system. And so, when the machine that is spreading the fertilizer, when it hits that area, it will specifically apply to that particular area, maybe not the rest of the field. So that's really about a management system, and again it comes back to efficiency, but it also comes back to sustainability, being environmentally conscious, and those things are all tied together. So, certainly zone mapping is one.

Another one that's new for us is using drones. So, we are using drones now to crop scout. So, looking at our field conditions from that level, we're also able to look for wildlife damage and we're also going to use it this summer for checking our beef cattle herd. And, again, that's really just a hands-off way of verifying that things are under control in a situation that we would expect it to be.

Kirk: Ce qu'elle a dit ensuite, était un angle vraiment cool auquel je ne m'attendais pas. Mais ce qui a du sens.

Sara: Qu'est-ce que c'était?

Kirk: Elle est revenue au changement de génération.

Julie: So, what the technology has allowed us to do is it really has added our children into our farm environment. And so, by doing that, because they have grown up with devices and different things like that, they are not afraid at all of different technologies, mapping systems; those kinds of things that we, maybe my husband and I didn't grow up with, and so for us it's been a learning curve, but for them it's really just something that comes very innately to them.

And so, my son, for example, it's his drone, and so he will use that for flying and making observations on our crops and our cattle. And so, that's really allowed them to be a very integral part of our operation on a level that's very different. And so, they are, like I said, not afraid to work that equipment; those mapping systems within the tractors; a lot of them have monitors now and so for them it’s just second nature.

Kirk: Des trucs très cool. Mais j'ai également lu récemment une étude de notre Division de la recherche et de l'analyse, selon laquelle le principal domaine dans lequel les producteurs innovent le plus est la sécurité.

Sara: Vraiment? C’est étrange, non? C’Est assez prévisible la sécurité?

Kirk: Pas vraiment. J'ai parlé à Julie de cette étude. Voici sa réponse ...

Dawson: That's right, and so you're exactly right. Equipment now is very, very large, very technical and very powerful. And so, I think, certainly I can speak from our business model, we've actually incorporated safety into our business planning. And so, from that, because as I mentioned at the start, it really is a business. And so, like any business it really needs to look out for its employees and be on the side of caution. And so, with that, we are now looking at installing fire extinguishers where we didn't have them before. Eyewash stations, things like that, which you may not find on sort of a farm from 30 or 40 years ago.

So, absolutely safety, number one priority. Our employees get briefed on safety procedures – what to do, what not to do. And there's written instructions in farm vehicles, tractors, combines, to tell people what to do in certain situations. And that really goes down to it's our family business, but it does employ others, and so we want everyone to enjoy their experience working for us, but also be safe at the same time. And so, while I'm surprised that that was maybe the top priority, from our own business sense I can understand that.

Sara: C'est un superbe portrait de toutes ces couches d'innovation dans une exploitation agricole. Mais, Julie a cet autre chapeau qu'elle porte, non? Elle est fonctionnaire fédérale, spécialiste du secteur bovin

Kirk: Totalement. Et elle a également partagé certaines de ses idées sur l'innovation à ce niveau.

Dawson: Yeah, so, and the beef sector is very different than the crop sector. And the beef industry and the beef sector are very much based on tradition. It's a very traditional way of raising animals. It's very much focused on the land. The nature aspect, the environmental aspect of beef production. And so, we see a lot less innovation on that side. Not to say that there aren't opportunities, but I think it's a lot easier to retrofit or modify a piece of machinery as opposed to the livestock themselves.

So, they really are beings that exist, and we manage how they function; what they eat, how they reproduce, that type of thing. And so, I think efficiencies are on a much smaller scale. Innovations, I mean, are on a much smaller scale on the livestock side, but certainly as a beef sector specialist, I think I see innovation as borrowing technologies from other sectors for the livestock industry.

So, for example as I mentioned, drones are using that for assessing animal welfare and animal health out on rangelands. We also have something... each of the animals in Canada is required to have a radio identification tag. So, I think there's an opportunity there to use that technology, whether it be from satellite images, again, from monitoring animal health. So, I think again, we're just barely dipping our toe into the pond of opportunities for innovation, albeit recognizing that it's not as far advanced as it is on the crop side of things.

The genomic side of things has real potential. I think we're just at a little bit of a boundary between a very technical aspect of agriculture and then relating that to producers. So, it's really about that communication or that extension of how that can benefit an operation or a farm business and relaying that message to producers. But, yeah, absolutely we have increased the genetic potential of the Canadian beef herd through genomics.

Kirk: J'ai adoré parler avec Julie. À la fin, j'ai demandé, quand elle est assise sur son porche arrière, donnant sur leur belle ferme - est-ce qu'elle pense à l'innovation.

Dawson: I can't say we spend a lot of time sitting on our back porch, but if we imagine that we did that, then we certainly... we reflect absolutely on the innovation that we've included in our business, and I think, as I expressed, the excitement that it allows us to think about what the future might hold. You know, I consider us to be young-ish farmers. We certainly are excited about what it brings, and maybe just... yeah, the opportunities that lie before us. And I think a lot of times… we’re growing food for others, the average producer feeds up to 200 consumers.

And so, that's a mind shift to think about, how we can be efficient? How can we be sustainable by using the latest technologies and not being afraid to use those? And I think there are, if I talk about my government role as a beef sector specialist, there are a number of programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership that allow producers to provide some of that risk and moderate some of that risk by providing some funding for projects, certainly on the innovation side.

Kirk: wow. Quelle est l'innovation la plus excitante que vous ayez vue, que ce soit sur votre ferme, dans votre région ou au Canada dans le domaine de l'agriculture ces dernières années?

Dawson: Yeah, there's more than one. So, if we talk about autonomous tractors. So, the... as we talk about labour and the inability to either find labour or have labour that is willing to work the amount of hours that are required, for example, in spring planting when a day might be 18 hours in length, it's hard to find labour. So, autonomous vehicles – absolutely. We're talking about specific zone... specific targeting of weeds. So, for example, instead of doing broadcast of sprays or herbicides, we now might be able to pinpoint weeds exactly and just be able to eliminate that particular species. So that's exciting.

We have autonomous -- DOT is the name of the autonomous vehicle that is now responsible for planting and seeding acres. Again, that's completely done remotely. So, I think there's a lot of exciting opportunities and they're just starting right, so it's a matter of bringing it back to that farm production level as opposed to being focused on the research side of things. But just so many opportunities.

Kirk: Et quand votre mari Andrew va assister à ces conférences, il est évidemment plongé dans le partage des idées et des innovations. Que rapporte-t-il?

Dawson: He brings back ideas. He brings back all of the excitement and the things that are possible. Albeit some of them are not feasible at this particular time. Some of them are large scale or research oriented, but really the opportunity that exists and the want or the desire to not be afraid to take that risk.

Kirk: Oui, c'est un secteur vraiment excitant dans lequel travailler, et pour nous d'observer et de raconter des histoires. Vous savez, tous les jours, c’est une surprise. Chaque semaine, on se dit, vraiment? On faisons ça. C’est super!

Dawson: Yeah, and I think sometimes the public is very much invested in that interest of a little red barn with a couple of cows and some fields in the background. And I think we have to make the shift to consumers that farming is a business. It's a very efficient business, and there's a lot of opportunities to incorporate mechanisation. You know, whether it be technology, whether it be some sort of breeding modification or whatever it might be, whatever inputs we might need, then I think that's the shift that we need to show to consumers that changes that have happened on the farm and that transition, because it really is a very different farm than it was even 30 years ago.

Kirk: C'est la ferme de votre grand-père, mais ce n'est plus sa ferme.

Dawson: Absolutely. It looks like his farm, until you open up the barn door or until you look inside, and you understand the amount of computers and technology that exists inside a piece of equipment, it's a very different farm.

Kirk: Donc, j'ai entendu dire qu'il y avait une nouvelle innovation qui sortait et qu'ils allaient étendre la durée d'une journée de 24 à 26 heures. Êtes-vous d'accord avec ça?

Dawson: No, as much as the farm is a very busy place, and especially coming up with April and the end of March on the horizon, it's a very busy time. And so, our period of busyness starts in about March and goes right through until about December. So, we're busy this time of year actually catching up on paperwork, attending conferences. So, a lot of conferences are going on in the agriculture world this time of year, bringing producers up to speed on what might be the next thing in line for this planting and growing season. And so, yes, it's kind of a never-ending field of work, but we really enjoy it and we wouldn't do it if we didn't.

Sara: Je pense qu'elle a juste évité ta… question étrange.

Kirk: étrange? Tu veux dire, question hilarante. Elle n’a pas compris la subtilité de mon sens de l’hmour, et toi non plus, évidemment. (soupire) Bon.

Sara: Oui. Et bien… D’ici à la prochaine épisode… vous savez quoi faire?

Ensemble: Explorez!

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Épisode 001 - Producteurs, innovateurs! Et comment les bonnes idées se propagent

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