Your Farm Voice: Jack Froese – President of Canadian Canola Growers
Jack Froese is a fourth generation farmer from Winkler, Manitoba. Jack, along with his son Randy, his brothers, and four employees, produce canola, dry beans, soybeans, corn and wheat on their farm.
Jack joined the Manitoba Canola Growers Association in 2013/14 and has been active on committees and boards for over 30 years. Jack has served as president on two national organizations – Pulse Canada and Canadian Canola Growers Association – where he proudly represents the voice of Canadian farmers locally, nationally and internationally.
Jack has travelled to over 45 countries around the world for business and pleasure – Romania, Bulgaria, India, Australia, South America, North America, Arab Emirates just to name a few. In his spare time he enjoys collecting things like coins and caps. Next time you see him ask him about his collection of things from around the world.
Q&A with Jack
Q: What’s your favourite piece of technology and why?
A: Seed pod shatter resistance technology in canola – it has absolutely revolutionized canola production on our farm.
Q: What do you wish the greater public knew about farming/food production?
A: Farmers are genuine. Everybody is suspicious of us and what we are doing with pesticides, fertilizers and biotechnology. The food I produce I feed to my wife, my children, my grandchildren and I would never try to harm them. The food we eat comes off my farm and it’s safe, abundant, and relatively cheap. We’re not producing grain, were producing food and that aspect always lingers in our minds. I wish the world would buy into that.
We’ve got to tell our story – Jack Froese attends canola trade missions in Japan and China
In fall of 2018, the Canadian Canola Growers Association along with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Grain Commission were invited on behalf of Canadian exporters to travel to Tokyo, Japan and Beijing, China to meet with customers to talk about global supply and demand. I went on behalf of Manitoba Canola Growers to talk about what happened on farms in western Canada last year.
Canada has a 42 year relationship with our Japanese customers so this was an opportunity to discuss the Canadian agriculture landscape, specifically growing canola and the challenges we faced. The Japanese have data on all products coming into their country (probably 10-20 years worth of data) and know exactly what the oil content, green content, dockage and ash content of canola has been. We talked about the data from last season and what could have happened on our farm that might have made a difference.
For example, last year if the quality of the oil was better it could be due to the fact that so much canola was straight cut. Canola matures on the plant, so the longer it can mature the better quality canola you’re going to get. Whereas we used to swath on the green side when the canola was immature, meaning we might not get the same quality as when you allow it to mature.
We talked about how flea beetles and climatic conditions (weather, drought and stress) might have affected the crop quality. I gave them a rundown of what we experienced on our farm. We had uneven emergence in some areas because it was so dry. The canola was stagey in other areas but because of the seed pod shatter resistance we could allow it to mature before harvest to maintain quality.
Very much like the Japan trade mission, we’re trying to build a similar relationship with China where our exporters meet with Chinese importers to discuss quality. The Canada China canola consultations only started about two years ago.
During the consultations CropLife hosted a Technology event where I presented on innovation on our farm. As Canadian farmers we have so many traits in the pipeline (some as much as 5-6 years) that haven’t been accepted by China so we can’t use the technology. The goal of the consultations is to meet with regulators and help them understand the technology and what the implications are to Canadian farmers if we can’t use it.
An example I talked about was wheat. The price of wheat was $6 a bushel when I started farming 42 years ago. It’s still $6 a bushel today. We’ve adopted technology and biotechnology to increase efficiencies and capacities, and that’s what’s kept us in business.
I went to Japan and China to advocate for Canadian canola farmers. I represent all canola farmers when I talk about these issues and how they relate back to the quality of the crop we produce. It is so important that we advocate to the various bodies that make the decisions in China about the market being open to accept our product, and accept new technologies. We’ve got to tell our story.