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For almost 80 years, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has not only partnered with hard working farmers and ranchers across the country, it has also played a substantial role in shaping Canada’s agricultural industry. On February 16, Canada’s Agriculture Day, DUC celebrates this long history of supporting producers’ sustainability goals.
“Partnering with those who produce our food is a part of who we are, ever since we began in 1938. In those early years, we worked alongside farmers and ranchers during the difficult times of the drought to put water back on the land, not only to benefit the crops and animals under their care, but to also safeguard our natural areas and the many benefits they provide Canadians,” says Paul Thoroughgood, regional agrologist for Prairie Canada. “Nearly 80 years later, these partnerships have continued, have grown, and have benefitted agriculture and conservation alike.”
Here are some of the ways DUC works with our partners on the land:
- Proud “agvocates”: DUC is pleased to be one of the newest members of Agriculture More Than Ever, an initiative that encourages people within the agriculture community to promote Canadian farming. We’re celebrating by taking the opportunity to tell our story about how we work with the industry.
- Supporting producers: DUC works with individual family farms to implement best management practices on their land. Our professional agronomists also help farmers with their production decisions.
- A pragmatic partner on the landscape: DUC is often the only environmental non-government organization asked to sit at the table with agricultural leaders and has led many innovative farm production movements.
- Science at the heart of innovation: During years of drought and increased soil degradation in the mid-1980s, DUC was a key participant in the no-tillage effort and owned some of the first reduced tillage equipment. With substantial research backing this decision to increase soil health, many producers have since adopted no-till practices across the country.
- Improved cropping options: For more than 20 years, DUC has played a leadership role in winter wheat extension, supporting plant breeding and agronomy research in Western Canada. A former DUC employee, Lee Moats, even has a variety named after him in recognition for his advocacy of the crop.
- Beefing up our support: DUC advocates for a strong and viable Canadian beef industry. During times of extreme drought and flooding, DUC opens its land to farmers and ranchers to help feed their livestock during feed shortages and offers incentives to convert cultivated land back into perennial cover. Recently hiring a new beef specialist, DUC is increasing its support of the Canadian beef industry and its members.
“As the agriculture industry evolves and changes, so do we,” says Thoroughgood. “We’re excited about our role and engagement in the sustainability movement across Canada. Just as no-till changed how we manage soil, we believe that science is pointing us toward the importance of keeping water on the landscape. This is a vital step forward as we help shape sustainable agriculture for the next 150 years.”
DUC participates in all areas of the agricultural industry, from working with governments and industry leaders to individual farmers and ranchers. With science as its cornerstone, DUC and its many industry partners have a shared vision for agricultural sustainability in Canada. A key component of this vision sees Canadian agriculture doing its share to meet the growing demand for agricultural products on the existing land base by implementing sustainable intensification. This production paradigm seeks to maximize the units of output per unit of input on our existing land base while protecting those areas not under production. DUC is proud to advocate for this as part of Canada’s Agriculture Day celebrations this week.
For more information on how DUC partners with agriculture, visit the Agriculture Content Centre, where you’ll find ready-to-publish images, stories and videos.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.